8th August 2020
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UNICEF allocates over $2 million for malnourished children in South Sudan

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Thursday, July 23, 2020

Children at UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces in South Sudan. PHOTO//Twitter.com/unicefssudan

The UN Children’s Agency has dedicated over $2.3 million [€2 million] for scaling up the screening and treatment of severe acute malnutrition among children under the age of five in South Sudan.

This is after it received $5.2 million [€4.5 million]  in humanitarian funding to help in addressing humanitarian needs in the country that are aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds were released within the context of the locust infestation affecting South Sudan.

Aid agencies report children across South Sudan are greatly exposed to severe hunger and other diseases due to the impact of Coronavirus.

In April, it was estimated that the situation could worsen for over 2.5 million children experiencing food insecurity and illnesses if the COVID-19 situation worsens in South Sudan.

A statement issued by UNICEF today noted that they will respond to the consequences of the locust infestation and also ensuring that children‘s needs are not neglected.

It said close to 300,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2020.

UNICEF added that the situation is made worse by a deteriorating food security situation due to loss of crops and harvests, and the loss of livelihoods caused by desert locusts.

According to the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan, EU humanitarian funding will help UNICEF equip an increased number of health facilities where child nutrition programmes are implemented.

Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya said additional nutrition supplies will be procured and stocked up ahead of the rainy season, allowing additional flexibility to respond to emergency nutrition needs.

“The humanitarian funding from the EU is timely, as we need more resources to keep the life-saving programmes going in this new COVID-19 pandemic context,” Dr. Ayoya stressed.

The statement further notes that UNICEF is also putting in place measures to mitigate and respond to the invasion of locusts.

It said the funding will also help in addressing serious children’s rights violations, such as the use of children by armed forces and armed groups.

Last month, the United Nations said the world failed to prevent grave violations against children during armed conflicts last year. This is after the United Nations Secretary-General’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict said over 25,000 grave violations against children were verified, which remains similar to 2018.

It translates into some 70 recorded cases of abuse per day.

UNICEF stated that it will use the funds given by the EU to provide essential mental health and psychosocial support for over 45,000 children and identified caregivers, unaccompanied and separated children and children at risk or survivors of gender-based violence.

“The EU has stepped up its support, aware that these new challenges will bring additional burdens for vulnerable communities,” said Heather Blackwell, Head of the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Office in South Sudan.

South Sudan annually allocates about 3% of the national budget to the health sector.

According to the World Health Organization, there is only one doctor per 65,000 people in South Sudan.

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