South Sudan, Republic of

Reaching children in South Sudan

Children in danger as famine looms in South Sudan

The recent resurgence of conflict in South Sudan has drastically raised increased undernutrition among children.


Nearly one million children under age 5 in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014, and without immediate intervention, it is estimated that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition by the end of the year. An estimated 3.9 million people are facing emergency levels of food insecurity in South Sudan, where conflict that broke out at the end of 2013 forced people to flee their homes and fields. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake visited South Sudan to draw attention to the dire situation. “We have to address what is becoming a nutritional catastrophe – and it is now a nutritional disaster – for so many children," said Mr. Lake.

If more is not done, we are in danger of witnessing a repetition of the crises that emerged in Somalia and the Horn of Africa three years ago, when early warnings of extreme hunger and escalating malnutrition went largely unheeded until official famine levels were announced. South Sudan’s children cannot wait for such an announcement. 

Learn more about the situation in South Sudan

Perspectives, actions and accounts of UNICEF's team and partners in the region working on the behalf of children

Photo essay: Reaching remote areas
UNICEF, with the World Food Programme and other partners, led a rapid response mission to provide the town of Kiech Kon with critical support. Conflict, displacement and food insecurity are threatening children across South Sudan. By early September, rapid response missions to 23 remote locations had reached almost half a million people, including over 95,000 children under age 5. 

Child malnutrition emergency in South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 23 September 2014 – Tens of thousands of children under the age of five remain at risk of malnutrition-related death in South Sudan, despite temporary improvements in the food security situation that were released today by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) group of experts.

In South Sudan, flooding compounds nightmare
“I’ve been standing holding my baby all night”, she told me, "I had nowhere to put my baby down due the height of the flood waters.”

A desperate struggle against starvation in South Sudan
As a food crisis threatens millions in conflict-stricken South Sudan, families are eating whatever they can to survive. Without more urgent international help, many will likely die of starvation.

Voices from the field: South Sudan – portrait of a humanitarian hero
“I believe that being a United Nations employee is about humanitarian actions,” Dr. Thomas Lyimo says. “It’s not only about sitting on the policy table doing advocacy, supporting the government or other partners to come up with evidence to improve policies, strategies, plans, guidelines, things like that.

Video: Far from home: Giving birth in a displacement camp
Before the conflict, pregnant women in South Sudan already faced one of the world's highest rates of maternal mortality, but the violence and its resulting displacement, as well as heavy rains and floods, are heightening the risks these women and their newborns endure.

Video: The lifeblood of survival in South Sudan    
South Sudan is the latest large-scale conflict to disrupt the lives of millions of innocent children.

Video and interview: Layers of loss: An interview with photojournalist Kate Holt on South Sudan
Advocating for human rights and illuminating their abuses has taken Zimbabwe-born photojournalist Kate Holt around the globe. On assignment for UNICEF, she returned to South Sudan, a country that has figured extensively into her work.

Photos: Children are dying now
Conflict has raised levels of undernutrition among children to grave heights in South Sudan, and famine now looms. Nearly 50,000 children under the age of 5 will die from severe malnutrition over the course of this year, if we don't act now.

Photo of the week: Threatened at every turn 
The dual threats of conflict and displacement are creating and compounding additional risks to children’s well-being. Violence has, for example, disrupted cycles of agricultural production and sales – which are not only avenues of food production and procurement, but also critical sources of livelihoods.

In South Sudan, 1.1 million people have been displaced (440,000 people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries) since resurgent conflict erupted in mid-December 2013. An estimated 588,222 of the displaced are children.

Nyapith Roaw, 14: “[B]ecause there is no school due to the war, many young girls face early marriage,” she says. “Their families are poor because of the crisis, and they are unable to resist the offer of a dowry. It means that women are not able to complete their promise. Instead, they are walking far everyday just to find water or to buy sorghum in the market. This is not the future that my friends and I want.” Nyapith is from Kiech Kon – where UNICEF, the World Food Programme (WFP) and partners have deployed a rapid response team to assist displaced people in remote conflict areas.

Nyagach Ngot, 15: "Life here in Kiech Kon is hard, especially now because of the war,” she says. “We can't move around anywhere. The main thing that would make things better for us young women, really, would be to have a phone network so at least we could communicate with other people outside here. I have relatives and friends in Ethiopia, in Sudan, in Kenya. I have not spoken to them in so long. I say they are in those countries, but really, I don't know because it's been so long since I last talked to them." 

Nyibol Chok, 13:  “I want to be a doctor and work in the hospital to help people,” she says. “There is a great need for doctors in South Sudan. Here in Kiech Kon, there used to be a doctor, for example, but now, because of the war, he has no supplies and no equipment, and he cannot really help anymore." Nyibol is also from Kiech Kon in Upper Nile State.

Can you see me? Read Nyaluak's story

Press releases and statements issued by UNICEF

From the Washington PostTo South Sudan’s woes, add famine — 50,000 kids at risk of death 
According to UNICEF and the World Food Program, close to a third of South Sudan’s population faces “acute” or “emergency” levels of hunger and malnutrition. Thousands of children remain stranded in remote parts of the country, where they are at risk of starvation.

Children in South Sudan cannot wait for famine before world acts
JUBA, South Sudan, 25 July 2014 - The Executive Directors of UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that children in South Sudan cannot wait any longer before the world takes action, as they met severely malnourished children and their mothers affected by the conflict in the world's newest country.

UNICEF and WFP stepping up assistance to desperate people in remote areas of South Sudan
JUBA, South Sudan, 8 July 2014 – UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are stepping up joint missions to reach desperate people in remote areas of South Sudan where the number of children at risk of death from malnutrition-related causes has increased dramatically and a hunger catastrophe is looming.

Fresh attacks in South Sudan squeeze humanitarian efforts
JUBA, South Sudan, 3 March 2014 – With fresh outbreaks of fighting in South Sudan likely to displace tens of thousands of additional people, UNICEF said today the emergency in the world’s newest nation risks becoming overwhelming. Nearly 900,000 people – half of them children – have already been forced from their homes in South Sudan.

Dire humanitarian crisis emerging in South Sudan, says UNICEF
BOR, South Sudan, 26 January 2014 – In the wake of the ceasefire signed late last week, UNICEF is warning of a humanitarian crisis unfolding outside Bor town in Jonglei state and other towns in South Sudan.

For further statements, visit the press centre.
For photo resources, visit here.


South Sudan: Nutrition crisis ahead
Nearly one million children under age 5 in South Sudan will require treatment for acute malnutrition in 2014, and without immediate intervention, it is estimated that 50,000 children could die from malnutrition by the end of the year.

South Sudan: A country falling into famine
The severely malnourished children of South Sudan cannot wait any longer before the world takes action. “It’s as bad as anything I’ve ever seen,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on a recent visit to a camp in Malakal.

South Sudan: Ensuring safe pregnancy and birth for internally displaced mothers
South Sudan had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, even before the eruption of the current conflict and displacement of so many people. A Health Link maternal and primary care clinic has been established at Mingkaman to give mother and baby a fighting chance.

In South Sudan, educating children in crisis
“In addition to the obvious need for continuing children’s education, education in emergencies actually saves lives by supporting children and adolescents with essential messages about how to maintain health in the crowded temporary shelters where they live,” says UNICEF Representative in South Sudan Jonathan Veitch.

With conflict raging in South Sudan, recruitment of children into armed groups is on the rise
This story of a former child member of armed groups highlights the immediate dangers as well as the long-term consequences for children who are forced to fight in conflicts not of their making

Press releases (Communiqués de presse)

Face à la famine, les enfants du Soudan du Sud ne peuvent attendre plus longtemps avant que le reste du monde agisse
JUBA, Soudan du Sud, 25 juillet 2014 - Les directeurs généraux de l’UNICEF et du Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM) ont aujourd’hui lancé une mise en garde en affirmant que que les enfants du Soudan du Sud ne pouvaient attendre plus longtemps avant que le reste du monde agisse, cela après avoir rencontré des enfants et leurs mères gravement sous-alimentés et touchés par le conflit qui se déroule dans le pays le plus jeune du monde.

L'UNICEF et le PAM intensifient leurs opérations dans les zones reculées du Soudan du Sud
Juba, Soudan du Sud, 8 juillet 2014 - L'UNICEF et le Programme alimentaire mondial des Nations Unies (PAM) intensifient conjointement leurs opérations d’assistance aux personnes démunies vivant dans les zones reculées du Soudan du Sud. Le nombre d'enfants qui risquent de mourir de causes liées à la malnutrition a augmenté de façon spectaculaire, laissant présager une catastrophe imminente.

Des fournitures d’urgence arrivent dans les zones isolées du Soudan du Sud, grâce à une opération conjointe
JUBA, Soudan du Sud, 28 mars 2014 - Une opération d'urgence pour fournir de la nourriture, des vaccins, des suppléments nutritionnels et autres services humanitaires essentiels à l'une des régions les plus isolées du Soudan du Sud a commencé aujourd'hui, dans le cadre d'une intervention conjointe du Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF) et du Programme alimentaire mondial des Nations Unies (PAM).

Seule et perdue : le cauchemar d’une fillette prise dans les combats au Soudan du Sud
PAGAK, Soudan du Sud, le 2 mai 2014 - Nyagonar* se souvient encore de la dernière fois où elle a vu sa mère. C’était à Malakal, l’une des nombreuses bourgades du Soudan du Sud où les combats et l’insécurité sont devenus des menaces permanentes.

Dans le chaos du conflit au Soudan du Sud, faire en sorte que les enfants séparés de leur famille la retrouvent
JUBA, Soudan du Sud, le 24 mars 2014 – Beaucoup de questions ont traversé l’esprit de Joséphine* lorsqu’elle a entendu les coups de feu, en décembre. « Est-ce que la guerre reprend dans le pays ? Mes enfants vont-ils vivre la même vie que moi ? Qu’en est-il de la sécurité de mes enfants?

South Sudan information in Spanish

Los niños y las niñas en Sudán del Sur no pueden esperar a que se declare una hambruna antes de que el mundo actúe
JUBA, Sudán del Sur, 25 de julio de 2014 - Los Directores Ejecutivos de UNICEF y el Programa Mundial de Alimentos (PMA) advirtieron hoy que los niños y las niñas en Sudán del Sur no pueden esperar más tiempo antes de que el mundo tome medidas, pues conocieron personalmente a niños con malnutrición grave y a sus madres, todos ellos afectados por el conflicto que golpea al país más joven del mundo.

Sudán: Los niños son los más afectados por el desplazamiento de la población
GINEBRA / JARTUM, 27 de junio 2014 - La actual crisis de desplazados internos y de refugiados en Sudán se manifiesta claramente como una crisis que sufren los niños: el 70% de las personas en movimiento son niños. El conflicto está activo en 9 de los 18 estados del país y en más de un centenar de lugares hay personas que necesitan asistencia humanitaria. Desde el comienzo del año, solo la región de Darfur ha visto 267.600 nuevos desplazados internos.

Hay niños que están siendo asesinados en el brutal conflicto de Sudán del Sur
Juba, Sudán del Sur, 18 de abril 2014 - Varios niños han sido asesinados durante los enfrentamientos que se están produciendo esta semana en Sudán del Sur, algunos como consecuencia de un ataque contra la población desplazada y otros por haber quedado atrapados en el fuego cruzado o por haber sido reclutados por fuerzas y grupos armados, según UNICEF. 

South Sudan information in Arabic

For more about UNICEF's work, choose any of the following:
UNICEF South Sudan website
UNICEF South Sudan Twitter
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UNICEF Connect blog



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