By Deng Machol
Juba – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Funds (UNICEF) says it’s seeking USD 183.6 million for its 2022 Humanitarian Action for Children in South Sudan.
UNICEF says 4.1 million children in South Sudan are in need of emergency assistance.
South Sudan is facing multiple humanitarian crises and this year a total of 8.3 million people will require humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs.
As of October 2021, UNICEF and partners were able to treat 195,436 children under five affected by severe acute malnutrition, vaccinate 290,005 children against measles and provide 475,784 pregnant women and children with insecticide-treated nets, as part of its humanitarian assistance in 2021.
This also includes 45,257 children reached with psychosocial support services and 79,716 children provided access to quality formal or non-formal education.
These results were achieved even though UNICEF received only 47 % of its humanitarian appeal for 2021 as of October 2021; amid the outbreak of subnational violence and the worst floods that the country has experienced in three decades.
“Ten years after independence, South Sudan faces one of its worst humanitarian crises in the world. Every three out of four of its citizens is affected by the multiple hazards such as floods and droughts and the sub- national violence,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF Representative.
Lasseko says the UNICEF and partners will target over 4.1 million children with lifesaving health, education, nutrition, immunization and water and sanitation services in 2022.
This includes the treatment of 241,500 children for severe acute malnutrition, vitamin-A supplementation for 2.9 million children, critical water & sanitation services for 1.4 million people, community-based learning opportunities for 917,942 children, and child protection services for 80,000 children.
Children are disproportionately affected and exposed to multiple risks, 70 per cent of the children in South Sudan are at risk of violence, exploitation, abuse, neglect, recruitment by armed groups, psychosocial distress and family separation.
According to UN Children Fund, the lack of skilled healthcare workers, ongoing conflict and natural hazards severely limits access to health services and safe water and almost 75 per cent of child deaths are caused by preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia. In 2021, an estimated 1.4 million children were acutely malnourished in South Sudan, and 2.8 million children were out of school.
“Too many children are going to bed hungry, are unable to go to school due to the conflict and climate induced disasters. While funding remains a challenge, we must step up our support for the children of South Sudan. They need us now, more than ever,” Ms. Lasseko.