World Vision (2014). Sounding the Alarm. The urgent needs of children in South Sudan
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Children in South Sudan are in the midst of a dangerous crisis. The conflict, which erupted on 15 December 2013, has resulted in almost 5 million people being desperately in need of humanitarian assistance.1 Over 1.3 million people have fled their homes – more than half of whom are children. Almost a quarter of a million children will be severely malnourished by the end of the year, and up to 50,000 children under 5 may die if treatment is not scaled up immediately. The children caught up in this conflict have suffered or witnessed brutal atrocities.
More than 9,000 have been recruited or used by armed forces and groups, where they become unwilling participants in the spiral of violence. Many have lost or been separated from their parents. These children are distressed and vulnerable to grave violations of their rights, including sexual violence. They live in constant fear of attack and face a daily struggle to survive. As one child in South Sudan poignantly asks, “Can you imagine?”
This report documents the suffering that has befallen the children of South Sudan. But more importantly, it warns that unless urgent measures are taken things will get unimaginably worse. The South Sudan Crisis Response Plan for January to June 2014 is underfunded by 60 per cent, with an alarming deficit for child protection initiatives. There is an urgent need for donors to commit more resources to fund a comprehensive aid effort that will see children fed, cared for, educated and protected. It is also critical for the international community to become more engaged in bringing an end to the violence; ensuring humanitarian organisations have safe and unimpeded access to those in need; strengthening accountability mechanisms for rights violations; and supporting inclusive measures to promote peace, reconciliation and healing for the people of South Sudan. Generations of children were killed and robbed of their most basic rights in the North-South conflict (1983–2005), which lasted 22 years and was the longest civil war in African history. The current conflict has already taken a devastating toll on children. However, it does not need to condemn another generation of children to a life of suffering, fear and insecurity. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities in December 2013, improvements in food security, education, health and other basic services signalled a brighter future for this young nation. The current conflict has eroded some of these gains, but through concerted and effective action hope can
be restored. We need to ensure the children of South Sudan can enjoy what most children in the developed world take for granted: enough food to eat, a secure home to live in, the opportunity to go to school and the chance to live in peace. Can you imagine?