South Sudan Independence marred by famine crisis: Costello

MORE than a quarter of a million children in South Sudan are now at risk of malnutrition as the country marks the third anniversary of independence, World Vision Australia’s chief executive said yesterday.

Major agencies such as World Vision are struggling to secure the funds to deliver critical emergency relief as the conflict in South Sudan shows no signs of abating, Tim Costello said.

“Three years ago there was dancing on the streets as a new nation was born with hopes and dreams for a free future,” Mr Costello said.

“On anniversary of South Sudan’s independence but there is not too much to celebrate as the population struggles to survive one of the gravest crises in living memory.”

South Sudan is on the brink of famine as the food crisis continues to escalate. Most of the population have been unable to plant their fields with more than 1.5 million forced to flee their homes. Some families are eating leaves to survive.

“In a country of 11 million, 4 million are in urgent need of food as a result of the ongoing conflict,” Mr Costello said.

Mr Costello said that the needs of South Sudanese are overwhelming humanitarian agencies working tirelessly to provide basic relief supplies.

The emergency response has also been constrained by heavy rains. The rainy season has blocked the country’s limited infrastructure making it almost impossible to deliver aid by land. Expensive airdrops have become the main way that aid can reach some of the population.

“World Vision is providing food, clean water, sleeping mats, toilets, shelter and hygiene kits to people that have been forced to flee their homes since the violence broke out,” Mr Costello said.

World Vision is also working to reunite children separated from their families and setting up spaces for children to be looked after, have a safe space to play and be supported.

To donate to World Vision Australia’s South Sudan Appeal call 13 32 40 or visit www.worldvision.com.au/SouthSudan

Source: World Vision Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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