Three years young: South Sudan on the brink of famine
Three years on from scenes of joyful celebration that marked the birth of a new nation, South Sudan is now home to of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and edging closer to full‐scale famine.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of violence in December last year. More than 1.5 million people are now displaced from their homes, and at least 378,000 South Sudanese have fled from the violence into neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Recent estimates from the United Nations (UN) say that 235,000 children under five will be malnourished and 50,000 may die if treatment services are not dramatically increased throughout the country.
CARE is supporting 50 healthcare facilities and providing other life‐saving assistance such as food, water and hygiene support to 150,000 people, as well as sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls affected by the conflict. CARE is also providing support to thousands of people camped in the UN compounds in the northern towns of Bentiu and Malakal.
However CARE now urgently needs more than USD $9 million (AUD $9.5 million) in order to meet the needs of 300,000 people.
CARE’s Country Director for South Sudan, Aimee Ansari said the outbreak of conflict in December had caused chaos across the country, leaving millions suffering through horrific violence and hunger. She said this been further compounded by a rainy season that had left large parts of the country cut off.
‘As we mark the third anniversary of South Sudan’s statehood, we should be reminded that this is still a young country whose people are in desperate need of assistance,’ said Ms Ansari.
‘In the past few weeks thousands of people have fled to the UN Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu seeking food and safety. It is alarming how quickly the needs are escalating as a famine threatens parts of the country.’
Ms Ansari said visiting CARE’s clinic in the northern town of Bentiu she had been reminded of the horror of what the people of South Sudan were facing.
‘Over five per cent of the children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. On the day I left Bentiu, CARE helped parents transport the bodies of children who had died from malnutrition to a burial site.
‘It was a brutal demonstration of the impact of the conflict, extreme hunger and a lack of funding.’
To support CARE’s South Sudan Appeal, visit www.care.org.au/south‐sudan or call 1800 020 046. $96 can feed two malnourished children.
CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities. ‐ENDS‐ For interviews, please contact CARE Australia Media Advisor Tom Perry on 0419 567 777