5 August 2016 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is responding to a growing food security emergency causing malnutrition in children in both rural and urban areas of crisis-gripped South Sudan.
“The situation in South Sudan is catastrophic, and even more so for children,” UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac told a news briefing in Geneva, where he also pointed out that so far this year, the agency has treated 120,000 children under age five for severe malnutrition; a nearly 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.
Initially, UNICEF had been planning to provide support to 166,000 children in 2016, but that figure has been revised to more than 250,000, he added.
Seven out of the country’s 10 states have reached the malnutrition-rate-emergency threshold of 15 per cent, while in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, the malnutrition rate stands at 33 per cent, he explained.
UNICEF has also noted a sharp rise in malnutrition in South Sudan’s urban areas, including the capital, Juba, where the rates of children admitted for malnutrition to UNICEF-supported Al-Sabbah children’s hospitals were some 20 per cent higher in the first six months of 2016 than for the same period last year. The spokesperson cited the country’s inflation rate as one of the main reasons for the high increase, explaining that it made basic household staples too expensive for many families.
Mr. Boulierac stated that while UNICEF could not provide figures of children dying from starvation, “one quarter of a million children in South Sudan are facing severe malnutrition.”
According to the spokesperson, with a number of roads inaccessible, the ongoing conflict has further limited UNICEF’s ability to respond – leaving, in the most urgent cases, the more expensive option of air transport for delivering supplies.
Additionally, Mr. Boulierac stressed that “due to insecurity and the rainy season, UNICEF staff in South Sudan are unable to be fully mobile and deliver their goods and services.”
Mr. Boulierac said that of the $154.5 million UNICEF needs for South Sudan in 2016, the Fund had, to date, received only $52 million to assist with water and sanitation; child support services; nutrition; health; and education.
He indicated that more than 900,000 children have been displaced in the country, which – with 1.8 million children, or 51 per cent of school-age youngsters out of school – also had the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.
“An estimated 16,000 children had been recruited by armed groups, and there were concerns that the renewed violence would lead to a further expansion of that practice,” explained the spokesperson.
He also called attention to the fact that sexual violence and rape had been used as a weapon of war, saying “all the ingredients were there to be extremely concerned.”
Between 8 and 25 July, at least 72 civilian deaths and 217 cases of sexual violence had been documented in Juba alone.
The spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), William Spindler, added that the total number of South Sudanese refugees in the region stood at 917,418 – most of whom are sheltering in Uganda.
The recent fighting in South Sudan between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing First Vice-President Riek Machar – erupted in and around Juba, on 7 July, close to the fifth anniversary of its independence.
The young country has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between the two leaders erupted into conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.
More than a third of the population in urgent need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance amid risk of catastrophe in some parts of the country.
NEW YORK, United States of America, June 29, 2016 – Up to 4.8 million people in South Sudan – well over one-third of the population – will be facing severe food shortages over the coming months, and the risk of a hunger catastrophe continues to threaten parts of the country, three UN agencies warned today.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed that while the deteriorating situation coincides with an unusually long and harsh annual lean season, when families have depleted their food stocks and new harvests are not expected until August, the level of food insecurity this year is unprecedented.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.8 million people are projected to be in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance through July, up from 4.3 million in April. This is the highest level of hunger since the conflict in South Sudan began two-and-a-half years ago. This number does not include 350,000 residents of the UN Protection of Civilians areas or other camps for displaced people, who currently are entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance.
“We are very worried to see that food insecurity is spreading beyond conflict areas as rising prices, impassable roads and dysfunctional markets are preventing many families, even those in towns and cities, from accessing food,” said FAO Country Representative Serge Tissot.
Food insecurity and conflict are also forcing many families to leave South Sudan for neighbouring countries. In the last few months alone, an estimated 100,000 South Sudanese people have crossed into Sudan, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and this number is expected to increase to more than 150,000 by the end of June.
“The levels of malnutrition among children continue to be truly alarming,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Since the beginning of the year more than
100,000 children have been treated for severe malnutrition. That’s a 40 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, and a 150 percent increase since 2014.”
Working with a large number of international and local non-governmental organizations, FAO, UNICEF and WFP will continue to deliver life- and livelihood- saving support under these difficult circumstances.
“We are now seeing sharp spikes of need in new areas, such as Eastern Equatoria or Western Bahr el-Ghazal, where malnutrition rates in some places are reaching dangerous levels. We have started ramping up food and nutrition support, but much more is needed to keep things from deteriorating even further during the lean season,” said WFP Country Director Joyce Luma.
In 2016, FAO is planning to provide emergency livelihood support to 3.1 million people in South Sudan. It is currently distributing over half a million crop and fishing kits and is assisting livestock production through the vaccination of some 11 million animals.
The dramatic rise in malnutrition rates, means that in the first four months of the year UNICEF has already treated 45 per cent of its planned 2016 caseload of 166,000 children.
WFP plans to assist 3.3 million people in South Sudan this year through a combination of emergency food assistance, lifesaving nutrition support for mothers and young children, community-based asset-creation projects where possible, and safety net programmes such as school meals.
UN Cartographic Section:
ROME, Italy, June 2, 2016 – The UN Refugee Agency and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have distributed seeds and agricultural tools to 200,000 refugees and their host communities across South Sudan to help them become more self-sufficient in a country facing a serious food crisis.
Assessments have shown that the food and nutrition security situation is worrying in many parts of the country, including in Upper Nile – a region hosting four refugee camps and South Sudan’s largest refugee population of 134,000 Sudanese refugees. A nutrition survey, conducted in late 2015, found that Upper Nile’s Maban refugee camps registered higher levels of malnutrition compared to 2014. This was particularly the case in Doro camp, where the rates of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) were respectively 15.5 percent and 2.6 percent – above UNHCR standards of 10 percent and 2 percent.
“To quickly respond to high malnutrition rates we are distributing nutritious food for children under five years and all pregnant and breast feeding mothers. We are pleased to announce that these interventions are working well, but we are also looking beyond quick-fix solutions that help refugees become more self-reliant and less dependent on humanitarian assistance in the long run. This is the essence of the UNHCR-FAO partnership,” says Ahmed Warsame, UNHCR Representative.
This year, the two UN agencies have jointly contributed 186 tons of crop seeds, assorted vegetable seeds, hand tools and fishing kits for refugees and local communities in Unity, Upper Nile, Jonglei, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria. This donation will enable communities to start planting their cereals and replenish their stocks, in so decreasing food shortages.
“People here lack the resources to buy the things they need to start planting and need support to be able to produce their own food. These distributions have been very timely since the planting season has just started,” says Serge Tissot, FAO Representative. “It is vital to strengthen the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the long-term so that they can become more resilient, absorbing shocks and increasing their access to food through their own means.”
While many have received assistance through direct distributions in the past, in 2016 refugees in Central Equatoria were invited to attend seed fairs for the first time. With this FAO, in partnership with UNHCR, strives to help transform agriculture in South Sudan by facilitating the sale of high quality local seeds instead of imported seeds. At the fair, vulnerable farmers were issued with vouchers to be exchanged with local traders for seeds which directly injected cash into the local economy.
“Without seed distributions we cannot survive. Not all of us are able to maintain seeds for next year, some people do, but because of a lack of food, sometimes we are forced to eat the seeds maintained for planting,” Michelle, Sudanese refugee from Blue Nile State. “We hope for peace so that we can return home, where we can be free,” she added.
FAO and UNHCR are committed towards increasing refugees’ access to livelihood opportunities and reducing dependency on humanitarian aid. Of late, a joint livelihood strategy for South Sudan was launched looking to address this issue with a clearly defined action plan. The strategy targets both refugees (70 percent) and local communities (30 percent) in refugee-hosting areas across the country.
“South Sudan’s army vowed to fight former rebels who are participating in a transitional government in the capital if hostilities continue with their insurgent allies in the oil-producing north, former Unity State. There has been military clashes this week in the Unity state, after the government came under attack, SPLA’s Captain was killed and another wounded, with Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang accussing the insurgents of initiating the violence, in the press conference at the Army headquarter…
READ MORE : http://www.africanews.com/2016/05/21/… ” (AfricaNews, 2016).
Here is the basic outtake from a report that was released on the 9th March 2016 from the United Nations Office of Human Rights Council. This focused on the matters of human rights and dignity, as it looks at the laws and regulations, how the state affairs with the matter and create safety and security for their people while not taken away their trust and their justice as free men and woman. As the Government of South Sudan has signed and ratified certain statues and human rights laws into their own as a civilized government who want to be respected and seen as a respectable state.
The major problems and issues is not only stemming from sexual violence towards the public as many has addressed, I have also taken that into the picture, but I want to show you the more of it, but not go into the laws and the ratifications, as that is important. For the moment we should all just see the pains that have unjustified hit many of the South Sudanese as the differences between Generals has hurt them. Take a look!
Internally Displaced Persons in South Sudan:
“By December 2014, more than 1.4 million South Sudanese had been displaced internally, while approximately 467,000 people had fled to surrounding countries. Additionally, roughly four million people in the country faced serious food insecurity. Humanitarian access continued to be hampered by fighting and violence perpetrated by both parties to the conflict against aid workers, equipment and infrastructure. In Unity and Upper Nile states, active hostilities and insecurity continued to disrupt humanitarian assistance as well as, road and air access” (…)”By mid-December 2014, more than 100,000 civilians were housed in UNMISS compounds – designated “protection of civilians sites” (POC sites) – because they were too afraid to return home, fearing potential violence. The bulk of these internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in Bentiu (43,000 people), Juba (32,000) and Malakal (17,000)” (UN OHRC, 2016)
Violence against IDPs:
“For example in Bentiu the SPLA soldiers have taken aggressive postures towards civilians in the PoC site. On 30 September, UNMISS witnessed approximately 20 SPLA soldiers in uniform, including child soldiers, outside the entrance of the PoC site pointing their weapons, including a vehicle with a mounted machine gun” (UN OHRC, 2016).
In Lakes State:
“In Lakes State, inter-communal conflict among different Dinka clans has continued despite efforts by the Government and state authorities to defuse tensions. Revenge attacks, including acts of sexual violence, continued in relation to the killing of a Paramount Chief in Cuei-Chok Payam on 5 August. In response to the violence, the Government has increased its security presence in the State. However, this has given rise to further violations as a result of heavy handed measures sometimes adopted by the security forces” (UN OHRC, 2016).
In Easter Equatoria:
“Eastern Equatoria has also witnessed major incidents of inter-communal violence, including on 6 December, in Loronyo, Torit, where several civilians, including women and children were killed. Reports received indicated that human rights violations were committed by security forces sent to the area in response to the violence, including sexual violence and looting of property. Likewise, the deterioration in the security situation in Chukudum in Budi County, Eastern Equatoria, in September and October, led to allegations of human rights violations by the SPLA, including arbitrary detention, torture and extra-judicial killings” (UN OHRC, 2016).
In Western Equatoria:
“In Western Equatoria, the influx of armed Dinka pastoralists from Lakes and Jonglei with their large numbers of cattle has seen an increase in tension with host communities, particularly in the Mundri West County areas. In Central Equatoria State, UNMISS monitored developments in clashes between the Kuku and Madi communities spanning the border between Kajo Keji in South Sudan and Moyo district in Uganda, resulting in several deaths in both communities and the displacement of between 8,000 and 10,000 civilians from the Ugandan side to the South Sudanese side of the border” (UN OHRC, 2016).
Conflict related sexual violence:
“State officials allege that at least 20 women were abducted from Souq sabi, Dere, and Lich University and taken to Guit and Nhialdiu. Allegations have also been made that SPLM/A-IO used rape as a punishment for suspected Government sympathizers” (…)”In another incident, in December, three women out of a group of 30 were reportedly raped by SPLA soldiers while proceeding to a village located near the PoC site in Bentiu, after soldiers allegedly asked them to join them and then shot at the group” (…)”Incidents of sexual violence have also been reported in the context of inter-communal violence. In Lakes State, women and children have reportedly been used as proxies for revenge, including through rape. In Rumbek East, the allegation that the paramount chief of the Guony clan was murdered by the Thuyic clan reportedly ignited a wave of retaliatory attacks, including reports of rape against women and children” (UN OHRC, 2016).
“Child soldiers have been observed in Bentiu, Malakal and Kuajok. Between September and November, UNICEF documented more than 70 incidents of grave violations against children affecting more than 2,000 children” (…)”During the reporting period, the SPLA issued new orders prohibiting the recruitment and use of children by the SPLA as well as occupation of schools. On 8 October, the United Nations submitted to the Government and SPLA a list of 20 schools reportedly used by the SPLA for military purposes” (UN OHRC, 2016).
I think the words in the reports say’s enough and I won’t comment on it; as the violence and actions are so straightforward and harsh. The people are victims and the reasons behind it should be sorted out. As they are violated, injured, harassed and killed by armies and militias while they are searching for power or keeping power. Peace.
UN Human Rights Council – A/HRC/28/49: “Report on the human rights situation in South Sudan” (09.03.2016)