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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

'The youngest citizens of the world's newest nation are on the verge of a nutrition crisis,' U.N. report says

The youngest -- and henceforth the most vulnerable citizen's of the world's newest nation is under threat of hunger and mass starvation.  According to the United Nations, 50,000 children younger than five years of age are likely to die in war-torn South Sudan unless they receive urgent treatment.

There are more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan, including almost 740,000 children less than five years of age. These children are at a high risk of food insecurity, with many already forced to eat wild 'famine foods' like bulbs and grasses, according to UNICEF.

There are more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan, including almost 740,000 children less than five years of age. These children are at a high risk of food insecurity, with many already forced to eat wild "famine foods" like bulbs and grasses, according to UNICEF.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/13/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: South Sudan, malnutrition, UNICEF, relief


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The U.N. Children's Fund warns that nearly a quarter of a million children will suffer severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year if more is not done now to tackle hunger.

There are more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan, including almost 740,000 children less than five years of age. These children are at a high risk of food insecurity, with many already forced to eat wild "famine foods" like bulbs and grasses, according to UNICEF.

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South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011 but has since been plagued by unrest. Thousands of people have been killed. Around one million people have been displaced since fighting erupted in mid-December.

During this civil war between the government and rebels, aid agencies have expressed concern about people's lack of access to life-saving relief because of the warring sides' suspicion of U.N. humanitarian efforts.

"If conflict continues, and farmers miss the planting season, we will see child malnutrition on a scale never before experienced here," Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF's representative in South Sudan, said in a statement. "If we cannot get more funds and better access to reach malnourished children in South Sudan, tens of thousands of under-fives will die."

Agencies warn there will be dire humanitarian consequences if urgently needed funds were not raised in the coming weeks. Donors have so far pledged funding to cover 36 percent of the $1.27 billion South Sudan Crisis Response Plan for the period January to June 2014.

UNICEF needs $38 million to meet nutrition needs in South Sudan fully, of which only $4.6 million has been received.

The immediate goal of the agency is to treat more than 150,000 severely malnourished children under five. It will send out rapid response teams into remote areas to deliver ready-to-use foods, micronutrient supplements, medicine, water purification sachets, Vitamin A and de-worming tablets. They will also support breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.

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