Children in South Sudan face future without hope, says World Vision
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. (May 19, 2014) – The world’s newest nation, South Sudan, risks losing a generation of children if warring factions in the African nation can’t abide by the terms of a ceasefire worked out earlier this month. This is one of the conclusions in a new report by World Vision, which is being released today as representatives of donor governments, the United Nations and humanitarian organizations are meeting in Norway to discuss ways to provide more than $1.27 billion (U.S.) in funding to help those in need in South Sudan.
The report, titled “Sounding the Alarm: The desperate plight of children in South Sudan
” notes that more than half a million children have been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting. Many children have suffered from or witnessed violence against themselves, their families and friends. The report also notes that children are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and some have been recruited into armed militias. It concludes that the situation for children in South Sudan will get “unimaginably worse” unless action is taken to end the conflict and to allow humanitarian agencies like World Vision to provide relief.
“When the fighting first started we ran to the other end of town. But there was shelling so we had to run back. When we got back to our home we saw that many people were dead. They had been shot as they ran. There was no safety on any side of the city.” - Maria, aged 10, child refugee from South Sudan
“The situation for the children here is horrible. If we don’t go to school we can’t learn. But if we leave the UN base we will die. So we have no choice but to stay here.” - Theresa, aged 13, child refugee from South Sudan
“My visit to South Sudan earlier this year was one of the most tragic of my long career as a humanitarian aid worker,” says Dave Toycen, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. “A country that was launched with such promise just a few years ago is now spiralling into an abyss of violence and destruction. I can only hope that this report, and others provided by other aid agencies, will spur the global community to help the people of South Sudan.”
Facts on the South Sudan crisis and humanitarian response:
- Since fighting erupted in December 2013, over 1.2 million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes. Over 950,000 have been internally displaced within South Sudan, while almost 300,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. Almost half a million of those internally displaced are children.
- The UN has reported that over 9,000 children have been recruited or associated with armed forces or groups in violation of both International and domestic law in South Sudan. Children as young as 12-13 years old have reportedly been serving as child soldiers.
- Since December 2013, World Vision has been providing immediate life-saving assistance to internally displaced people in in Upper Nile, Unity and Warrap States, including food, nutrition supplements, clean water, latrines, hygiene kits, shelter items and mosquito nets. It has also been running Child Friendly Spaces to provide children with a safe space to play, learn and receive psychosocial and other forms of support.
To learn more about World Vision Canada’s work to help refugee children and their families in South Sudan, please visit our website
or call 1-800-268-5528.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre at worldvision.ca.