JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, 3 December 2020 – 4.1 million children will need humanitarian assistance in 2021 in South Sudan, UNICEF said today. Many children and their families are affected by concurrent intercommunal violence, armed conflict, cyclical drought and perennial flooding. Overall 7.5 million people, or two-thirds of the population in South Sudan, are expected to be in dire need of humanitarian assistance in 2021.
UNICEF expects the food and nutrition crisis to continue in 2021 as there have been few gains in 2020 in addressing food insecurity coupled with severe flooding in larger parts of the country.
“Children in South Sudan are growing up thinking crises are normal,” said Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “They are often faced with empty stomachs, exposed and more susceptible to communicable diseases, and many find themselves homeless due to severe flooding. This should not be normal for any child.”
UNICEF appeals for US$197.8 million for 2021 to assist 5.1 million people, including 3.7 million children, affected by multiple shocks, including conflict, disease outbreaks, drought and flooding.
As part of their humanitarian assistance in 2020, UNICEF and partners were able to treat 267,000 children under five affected by severe acute malnutrition, vaccinate 312,000 children against measles and provide 330,000 pregnant women and children with insecticide-treated nets.
These results were achieved even though only half of UNICEF’s humanitarian appeal for 2020 was funded and despite growing insecurity, including violence against humanitarian workers and looting of humanitarian supplies.
‘We are extremely concerned about the increased violence against humanitarian actors. We are asking for all humanitarians to be granted unhindered access to people in need, for looting of relief supplies to end, and for perpetrators to be held accountable, so we can safely provide humanitarian assistance,” said Dr Ayoya.
In 2021, UNICEF aims to:
- treat 272,978 children under five with severe acute malnutrition;
- vaccinate 540,000 children against measles;
- provide water to 817,000 people;
- assist 127,000 children and caregivers with mental health services and psychosocial support;
- ensure for 770,000 children access to formal or non-formal education;
- reach 30,000 households with humanitarian cash transfers across sectors.
“I thank all donors and partners for the contributions received in 2020. I hope we will be able to continue to work in partnership with them in 2021 to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of children and the population of South Sudan,” said Dr Ayoya. “We all know investing in children is the best investment one can make. It is a key strategy to ensure sustainable development in South Sudan and to build a prosperous and peaceful country.”