Drought and violence taking toll on South Sudan’s children

The number of children fleeing violence and famine in South Sudan has passed 1 million, two U.N. agencies announced today.
Children make up more than 60 percent of the 1.8 million refugees from the world’s youngest country.
“The horrifying fact that nearly one in five children in South Sudan has been forced to flee their home illustrates how devastating this conflict has been for the country’s most vulnerable,” Leila Pakkala, UNICEF’s regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said in a statement.
While it may be the end of the drought, the higher risk of flooding puts the millions of people displaced from their homes at risk of water-borne illness.
Children are particularly vulnerable to dying from diarrhea caused by cholera or other bacteria in their drinking water.
Roughly 50 percent of the $181 million UNICEF needs to support South Sudan and its refugees for 2017 is available.
UNHCR, on the other hand, needs four times more money than UNICEF, but it’s budget only 11 percent funded.
It is particularly bad for girls, the survey found.
Some families face tough choices over which children can go to school, and it’s often the girls who must stay home, according to Plan International.
A hunger crisis that affects more than 40 percent of people in South Sudan adds a new lifelong risk for children.

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