Violence. Malnutrition. Disease.
This vicious cycle was never meant to consume the lives of children living in the world’s youngest nation, but for over 3 million children in South Sudan, this hostility is a daily reality.
After an already long history of civil war in the region, more than 3 million children still face immediate threats to their lives as the ongoing South Sudan conflict enters its second year. Without safe shelter, adequate nutrition and access to clean water and sanitation, the continued conflict is driving thousands of displaced families to overcrowded camps where children face drastically increased risks of disease outbreaks and become even more vulnerable to being recruited by armed forces.
“I don’t want to be a soldier. I will end
up with nothing by being a soldier, and I
know one day I’ll get killed if I continue
being a soldier. I want first to go to school;
then, later, I want to study medicine.”
With over 83 per cent of South Sudan’s population living in remote and isolated areas, providing life-saving services against preventable deaths caused by malaria, acute respiratory infection, diarrhoea, measles and polio is a constant challenge. In addition, an urgent nutrition crisis has already seen more than 22,000 children under the age of five admitted to health facilities with severe acute malnutrition in 2015 alone.
But here at UNICEF, we’re not ones to give up easily.
That’s why UNICEF is working with The World Food Programme and other partners to provide innovative solutions for children in South Sudan, such as rapid response missions. Rapid response missions allow UNICEF to quickly deliver necessary life-saving services to even the most remote and conflict-affected communities by air so that children are able to receive the care and assistance they need as soon as possible, even during the most trying times.
“So far, the rapid response missions have reached over half a million people, but millions more remain in desperate need of aid.”