WORLD Vision has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to provide a further $2.6 million for the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan which is having a devastating impact on the country’s children.
World Vision Australia’s chief executive, Tim Costello, has warned that South Sudan is in the grip of a severe food crisis.
“Alarmingly, a quarter of million children are likely to be severely malnourished by the end of this year, and 50,000 children are expected to die unless they get immediate treatment,” Mr Costello said.
International donors have pledged more than $650 million in aid to South Sudan at a donor conference held in Oslo, Norway yesterday. However, more funds are desperately required to meet escalating humanitarian needs in the country.
“More than 1.3 million people have been forced to abandon their homes following the conflict which erupted in December 2013,” Mr Costello said. “Many children have lost or been separated from their parents while fleeing the violence and are vulnerable to severe forms of abuse including sexual violence.”
Only around 86,000 of those displaced are sheltering in dangerously overcrowded UN protection sites. The congestion is increasing the risk of disease and infection, with alarming news of cholera outbreak.
While the conditions in these protection sites are dire, the vast majority of the internally displaced are out of reach in conflict-affected areas.
“While welcoming the additional funding, we call on the Australian Government to use its position on the UN Security Council to ensure that the UN peacekeeping mission has a clear mandate and the resources needed to effectively protect civilians and ensure aid agencies can safely reach the millions in desperate need,” Mr Costello.
World Vision has been responding to the humanitarian need as a result of the conflict by providing food, clean water, shelter, toilets, hygiene kits and nutrition supplements for children. The organisation is also working on reuniting separated families, including vulnerable children, and running spaces for children where they are able to safely play, learn and receive psychological support.