Lack of funding will likely soon lead to a peak in water borne diseases in South Sudan

UNICEF particularly concerned about the risk within newly designated displacement camps and protection of civilian sites

16 December 2020
Three children carry water
UNICEF/UN0372901/Naftalin

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN – With the end of the year fast approaching, the lack of funding for next year to ensure communities have access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services constitutes a major risk for outbreaks of water borne diseases in South Sudan in 2021, UNICEF warned today.

More than five million people – approximately 40 per cent of the population – do not have access to clean and safe water in South Sudan; 61 per cent of the population do not have access to latrines.

Conflicts and floods have worsened an already serious situation. Moreover, funding for water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services have remained largely insufficient. This year UNICEF received only 31 per cent of the funding needs for its WASH programmes.

Poor access to clean water and proper hygiene in South Sudan is putting children’s health at risk, contributing to one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. 

“Evidence has shown that lack of access to clean water increases risks of diarrhoeal diseases and contributes to acute malnutrition among children, which is already high in South Sudan,” says Dr Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. 

UNICEF is very concerned about the situation in the newly designated displacement camps and the protection of civilian sites. These places are particularly vulnerable for disease outbreaks.

“Due to underfunding, UNICEF has been using limited critical regular resources to sustain our operations to ensure communities have access to water and sanitation services in newly designated displacement camps and protection for civilian sites,” says Dr Ayoya. “We are now appealing again urgently for external funding to maintain WASH services in the camps.”

A minimum of USD 1.7 million is needed to cover the needs from January to June 2021 to ensure continuity of WASH services in the newly designated displacement camps and protection of civilian sites. Failing to raise funding will lead to an increase in WASH-related morbidity and mortality, with potential outbreaks of water borne diseases.

In its recently released Humanitarian Action for Children appeal, UNICEF announced it needed USD 45.6 million for its WASH programmes in 2021.

“We are extremely grateful to the donors that have contributed to our WASH programmes over the years and look forward to continue our partnership with them next year,” said Dr Ayoya. “Meanwhile we call on other donors to join us in our efforts to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene services can be made available to all those in need.”

Media contacts

Yves Willemot
Chief of Communication
UNICEF South Sudan
Tel: +211 91 216 2888

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work in South Sudan visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan

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