4.1 million children will need urgent assistance in South Sudan in 2020. Years of conflict have destroyed critical infrastructure hindering access to basic services such as clean water, health care and education. Gender-based violence is prevalent and unaccompanied children are at risk of exploitation and abuse. The unresolved political conflict and lack of essential services prevents displaced people from returning home to rebuild their lives.
At the same time, the floods affecting 78 counties across the country, have devastated crops making an already difficult food situation worse. Critical infrastructure, including schools and health centres, will need to be rebuilt when the water subsides. In 2020, UNICEF is expecting an increase in number of children suffering from acute malnutrition, increasing from 860,000 in 2019 to 1.3 million in 2020. This includes 292,000 children under five years of age suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
UNICEF is appealing for US$180 million to respond to the most immediate needs of women and children in South Sudan the coming year.
“How can we expect children to grow if the water they are drinking is makes them sick?’’ asked UNICEF South Sudan Representative, Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya. “While the country is struggling with finding a sustainable and peaceful solution to the conflict, our focus remains on the future which means the children of South Sudan.”
In 2019, UNICEF and partners were able to treat 186,000 children for severe acute malnutrition, provide clean water to some 460,000 people, delivered education to 610,000 children and vaccinated over 430,000 children against measles. Meanwhile, the overall humanitarian funding in South Sudan decreased. For 2019, UNICEF appealed for US$179 million, by end of August just over half was funded. This hampered UNICEF’s efforts to respond to the needs of women and children, including supporting demobilization of children from armed forces and groups and provide water and sanitation to some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
“The only thing that I am 100 per cent sure of is that the children growing up in South Sudan cannot be blamed for the situation in the country. Yet, they are paying the highest price – with their futures,” said UNICEF South Sudan Representative, Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya. “If we want to see a prosperous South Sudan, we need to continue to invest in the current and coming generation of children, ensuring they are not only surviving but thriving. For that we need all partners and all donors to join in.”
In 2020, UNICEF is aiming at:
- 268,045 children under five years of age treated for severe acute malnutrition
- 518,000 children vaccinated against measles
- 340,000 pregnant women and children provide with mosquito nets
- 817,000 people have access to safe water and 303,500 people have access to safe and appropriate sanitation facilities
- 127,000 reached with psychosocial support
- 709,000 children accessing quality formal or non-formal education
- 2,500 teachers trained on education
- 42,030 households reached through the cash transfer programme