Children in crisis in South Sudan

When South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 it gave the people of the country what they had voted for in the referendum earlier that year. But the new country was fragile having been at the centre of unrest for many years; this was to cause major problems.

In December 2013 internal conflict broke out during which thousands of people were killed and more than 1.1 million people were forced out of their homes. 555,000 of these people were children who became part of the struggle to survive in an extremely difficult environment.

The problems of food shortage

The farming community within South Sudan, which is an agricultural based country, have been unable to plant their usual crops. This in turn has led to an extreme shortage of food which, if it continues, has the potential to lead to the deaths of 50,000 children. Visit the UNICEF website to find out how you can volunteer in Australia & other parts of the world to help out with a worthy cause.

The work of UNICEF

In amongst the devastation on the ground UNICEF representatives are working to help the children and reduce the spread of cholera which has already been confirmed in capital Juba, and two of the country’s states. Cholera is a major issue when there is a lack of non-contaminated water. It’s a bacterial infection which causes symptoms including diarrhea and sickness. Obviously if these symptoms are not treated and reduced anyone who is infected can become dehydrated. In the worst cases there is a terminal outcome.

One of the main items of work for UNICEF is to provide safe water for the preparation and cooking of food in an attempt to alleviate the issues with cholera. They are also involved in the provision of food and the screening of children against malnutrition. An additional illness concern is the potential spread of measles which happens easily in crisis situations; UNICEF representatives are carrying out an immunization program to protect children against the illness.

The importance of family and play

Keeping the children of South Sudan alive and nourished is obviously a major concern but it’s also important to remember that they are still children despite all the devastation that they have witnessed. It’s not easy to protect childhood in such difficult situations but UNICEF exists to do just that. The organisation is central to protecting children throughout the world.

In South Sudan the UNICEF workers are helping to re-unite children with their families; you can’t underestimate the importance of this in the emotional well-being of the child. They are also securing safe places for children to play. Given the fact that they have lived through so much unrest you may think it would be hard for these children to laugh and enjoy themselves, but children have amazingly resilient natures and they deserve a chance to just play like other children throughout the world.

This is just one of the major accomplishments of UNICEF as an organisation. It has the international power to be able to help and influence in times of crisis which it can only do because of the donations from people around the globe.

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