S. Sudan:UNICEF appeals for $197m for children’s immediate needs

(JUBA) – At least 4.1 million children in South Sudan will need humanitarian assistance in 2021, the United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF) said.
The agency, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said many children and their families are affected by concurrent inter-communal violence, armed conflict, cyclical drought and perennial flooding.
Overall, it added, 7.5 million people, or two-thirds of the population in South Sudan, are expected to be in dire need of humanitarian assistance in the coming year.
UNICEF further said it expects the food and nutrition crisis to continue in 2021 as there have been few gains in 2020 in addressing food insecurity coupled with severe flooding in larger parts of the country.
“Children in South Sudan are growing up thinking crises are normal,” said Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.
He added, “They are often faced with empty stomachs, exposed and more susceptible to communicable diseases, and many find themselves homeless due to severe flooding. This should not be normal for any child.”
UNICEF also appealed for US$197.8 million for 2021 to assist 5.1 million people, including 3.7 million children, affected by multiple shocks, including conflict, disease outbreaks, drought and flooding.
As part of their humanitarian assistance in 2020, UNICEF and partners were reportedly able to treat 267,000 children under five affected by severe acute malnutrition, vaccinate 312,000 children against measles and provide 330,000 pregnant women and children with insecticide-treated nets.
These results were achieved even though only half of UNICEF’s humanitarian appeal for 2020 was funded and despite growing insecurity, including violence against humanitarian workers and looting of humanitarian supplies, according to the agency.
‘We are extremely concerned about the increased violence against humanitarian actors. We are asking for all humanitarians to be granted unhindered access to people in need, for looting of relief supplies to end, and for perpetrators to be held accountable, so we can safely provide humanitarian assistance,” said Dr. Ayoya.
Meanwhile, in 2021, UNICEF said it aims to treat 272,978 children under five with severe acute malnutrition, vaccinate 540,000 children against measles, provide water to 817,000 people, among other assistance.
“I thank all donors and partners for the contributions received in 2020. I hope we will be able to continue to work in partnership with them in 2021 to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of children and the population of South Sudan,” stressed Dr. Ayoya.
“We all know investing in children is the best investment one can make. It is a key strategy to ensure sustainable development in South Sudan and to build a prosperous and peaceful country,” he added.

Source: Sudan Tribune