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UNICEF Warns of Child Starvation in South Sudan

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UNICEF today warned that 50,000 children will starve to death in South Sudan unless action is taken. The crisis could get even worse. The UN Children’s agency is desperately seeking donations for the emergency.

A UNICEF press release says, “Nearly a quarter of a million children in South Sudan will suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition, by the end of the year.”

South Sudan declared independence in 2011. However, the country was still suffering from hunger and poverty after years of conflict with Sudan, and also among rival tribes. Last year fighting started between the government and opposition forces.

The conflict has displaced nearly a million people. Food supplies all over the country have been disrupted. There are 3.7 million people in South Sudan suffering from hunger. There are reports of people living off bulbs and grasses.

Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, says, “Sadly, worse is yet to come. If conflict continues, and farmers miss the planting season, we will see child malnutrition on a scale never before experienced here. If we cannot get more funds and better access to reach malnourished children in South Sudan, tens of thousands of under-fives will die.”

Children attending a class at the Muniki Center Basic School in the Muniki Payam, a sub-district of Juba, South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0862/G. Cranston

Children attending a class at the Muniki Center Basic School in the Muniki Payam, a sub-district of Juba, South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/NYHQ2007-0862/G. Cranston

UNICEF is trying to reach children with foods like Plumpy’nut that can stop malnutrition. They are also distributing medicines, clean water and other supplies. The UN World Food Programme is also trying to feed South Sudan’s war victims and they too are desperate for funding.

Veitch adds, “These are not mere statistics. They are the children for whom South Sudan holds so much potential and promise. We must not fail the children of this new and fragile nation.”

UNICEF has set up a donation page for South Sudan.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.