JUBA. — At least 270,000 children in South Sudan are severely malnourished and face greater risk of starvation, with some 20,000 expected to die from extreme hunger before the end of year, aid group Save the Children warned on Thursday.
The aid agency said nearly half of South Sudan’s population is facing extreme hunger.
“Malnourished children have substantially reduced immune systems and are at least three times more likely to contract and die from diseases like cholera and pneumonia than healthy children,” said Deidre Keogh, Save the Children’s country director in South Sudan.
The new findings came barely a month after another report by three United Nations agencies and the government that the conflict, a biting economic crisis and insecurity in the past three months pushed 6.1 million South Sudanese into extreme hunger, and 36,000 others facing risk of famine.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016. Save the Children said the recently signed revitalised peace agreement provides hope for millions of children if implemented effectively.
“To ensure South Sudan’s children are protected from a further decline into starvation, Save the Children calls for access to children in need to be guaranteed, humanitarian assistance to be enhanced and sustained,” Keogh said. – Xinhua