Eight out of nine states assessed show emergency levels of acute malnutrition
TORONTO and BENTIU, South Sudan, Oct. 25, 2017 /CNW/ - Across the world's youngest country, high levels of insecurity and renewed clashes are forcing millions of people to leave their homes, and leaving children critically malnourished and at risk. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and exposing children and their families to violence and life-threatening hunger and diseases. In Bentiu, UNICEF Canada President and CEO David Morley made the following statement:
"Today, more than eight million people in South Sudan are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, including 4.3 million children. Since I arrived here three days ago, I have met some of them and I can tell you this - my heart breaks with theirs.
The situation these innocent children find themselves in here is unconscionable. They have hardly any food or clean water and they're dying of preventable causes. If they do manage to survive, they're often separated from their families, they face violence or exploitation and they miss out on critical education. I don't think anyone would be able to stand by and let this happen if they could see it first-hand for themselves.
Canadians have been generous in their support of children affected by this crisis and through the Canadian government's Famine Relief Fund. This week, the Government of Canada continued to show its commitment to the children of South Sudan, giving $1.5 million to UNICEF's work to avert the food crisis in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
UNICEF has been working with community networks across the country to rapidly deliver quality services to the most vulnerable. So far this year, we have undertaken 35 Rapid Response Mechanism Missions, reaching more than 600,000 children with life-saving essentials. Last month, UNICEF provided safe drinking water to nearly 65,000 people, almost 500 children with moderate acute malnutrition received treatment, and more than 1,200 children were dewormed.
But the crisis continues to grow exponentially. The number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries has now passed two million people, 85 per cent of whom are women and children. Eight out of nine states assessed in a recent survey showed global acute malnutrition rates above the World Health Organization emergency threshold of 15 per cent. At the same time, nearly 17,000 cases of cholera have been reported so far in 2017, and almost 80,000 people are infected with malaria every week – the majority of whom are children under five.
In a year where emergencies have filled the headlines, we cannot forget the children of South Sudan. Without a negotiated political end to this conflict and greater support to address immediate urgent needs, more children will die. There is no clearer way to say it."
To help support UNICEF's life-saving work with children affected by the food crisis go to www.unicef.ca/famine.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in more than 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.
SOURCE UNICEF Canada
For further information: For interviews or more information, please contact: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada416-482-6552 ext. 8866, [email protected]