A crisis in South Sudan erupted in December of 2013, only three years into this fragile country’s independence. Due to violent conflict between The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and its opposition, more than 1.5 million South Sudanese have fled their homes in search of safety, with some 400,000 of these people seeking refuge in neighboring nations.
United Nations Emergency Directors have declared an Emergency, calling for immediate response. This declaration reflects the fact that over 7 million South Sudanese will be at risk of food insecurity this year.
“There is every likelihood that the worst food crisis in South Sudan’s history can happen,” said Hilde Johnson, chief of the United Nations mission in South Sudan.
Since January, we’ve deployed multiple nutrition, food security, and water and sanitation experts. Our dedicated Nutrition Emergency Team is currently working in the Bentiu camp for internally displaced people to help meet fast-growing nutrition treatment needs. The team will be working to set up an Outpatient Therapeutic Program, and is also working in collaboration with partner organizations to enhance their capacity to diagnose, treat, and prevent acute malnutrition in children in the camp.
Our Surveillance Emergency Team is travelling around the country to assess the nutritional needs of children in South Sudan. We are at the front lines of collecting nutrition data to determine where children are suffering the most and what needs to be done to help them in their communities. With UNICEF’s continued partnership, the Surveillance Emergency Team will continue to assess the nutrition situation in South Sudan and provide the information necessary to save lives.
In May, our Emergency Cholera Team was deployed in response to a cholera outbreak in the capital city of Juba. They began hygiene assessments and cholera-awareness trainings upon their arrival. Now that the outbreak has slowed in the capital, our Emergency Team has begun transition planning to determine how these efforts can be incorporated into our ongoing operations in Juba.
South Sudan needs your help!
Action Against Hunger has worked with vulnerable populations in what is now South Sudan, responding to high malnutrition rates, a lack of clean water, and chronic food insecurity, for over twenty years. In 2013 alone, Action Against Hunger treated some 27,000 severely malnourished children while helping another 45,000 people access lifesaving care; provided more than 189,000 people with access to clean water and sanitation; and helped more than 80,000 people regain their self-sufficiency.
If urgent action is not taken, the humanitarian picture is predicted to quickly turn catastrophic. Together with the global community, individuals and governments alike must deepen their support to aid the millions of South Sudanese whose lives are being irrevocably damaged by conflict, malnutrition, and disease.