AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - 3 children die every day; 50 thousand at risk for malnutrition, diseases and ethnic conflicts

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Yuba (Agenzia Fides) - An average of three children die per day, and one in seven before the age of five, due to the severe humanitarian crisis in the Country. Three years after the independence of South Sudan, the population lives in desperate conditions. Since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, 1.5 million southern Sudanese have fled their homes, of these, 400 thousand have fled to Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. In the absence of an immediate increase of humanitarian aid, 50 thousand children could die because of malnutrition. Currently there are over 7 million (two-thirds of the Country's population) people who live in a state of food insecurity.
This is what was reported by the Spanish NGO Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH). In 2013 alone, ACH took care of 27 000 children due to acute malnutrition. UNICEF has declared that the deaths among children under five years of age have increased from 18 to 24 per week in Bentiu, a camp of the United Nations Mission (UNMISS), whose health services have deteriorated because of the continuous waves of displaced persons. ACH is providing a treatment program, in collaboration with other organizations, to assist the displaced and provide drinking water to 46 000 South Sudanese in the camp in Bentiu, and sanitation to 189 million people, as well as offering support to more than 80 thousand people.
With regard to education, 9 out of 10 children do not complete primary school, and 84% of women cannot read or write. Only 40% have access to medical services and 32% do not have drinking water. In the month of May an epidemic of cholera was declared in the capital Yuba (see Fides 24/05/2014). The alarm has already extended to 9 of 10 states and the total cases, on July 2, had surpassed 2,600, with 54 deaths. The results of the survey conducted by ACH in Leer, Unity State, highlight an acute malnutrition rate of 34%. The emergency threshold set by WHO is 15%. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 10/07/2014)