Acute starvation in South Sudan 'soared by 50% in a decade'
The number of people facing acute starvation has risen by 50 percent in the last 10 years, with some 40 percent of the country's population experiencing crisis levels of food security. The situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming months amid violence, severe weather brought on by climate change and high food prices.
South Sudan's government has struggled to address the country's myriad of challenges after a peace deal was reached in 2018. International aid funding also falls far short of what is needed to assist the South Sudanese people.
Save the Children is treating thousands of children with acute malnutrition, with staff reporting increasing numbers of babies arriving at clinics in life-threatening situations. In the past three months alone, the charity diagnosed 7,342 infants with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), of which 4,219 infants were admitted to hospital for treatment.
Rama Hansraj, Save the Children's Country Director in South Sudan, said: "The birth of a new nation is often a time of hope and joy for many of the people living within it, but sadly this promise is yet to deliver for South Sudan. In so many ways, things have gotten worse for children since the country was formed in 2011.
"Civil war and climate shocks have all played their part in pushing South Sudan away from where it should be, ten years on.
"South Sudan is not just a story of conflict. It is a story of generations of deliberate displacement of civilians, destruction of livelihoods, and land occupation, compounded by climate shocks like unprecedented flooding and locust plagues, and a story of COVID-19 and its obliteration of already-vulnerable social infrastructure."
Hansraj urged that tackling the "root causes of this crisis, as well as mitigating the devastating effects of the pandemic" could "prevent a generation succumbing to the immediate and long-term consequences of malnutrition.”