A quick guide to understanding the emergency in South Sudan.
How bad are food shortages in South Sudan?
The number of people threatened by food shortages has risen to 4.7 million, according to the World Food Program — about half the population of South Sudan. Of these, 1 million people require immediate food aid.
Why are things so bad?
In January, South Sudan shut down its oil production following a dispute with Sudan. The shutdown sparked a series of economic shocks, including rising food and fuel prices and cuts to agriculture, health, and education services.
The situation has been made worse by a poor harvest and fighting, which has displaced tens of thousands of people. On top of all this, more than 400,000 refugees from the north have returned to their homeland in South Sudan. Most of these people lack food and other essential supplies, and more are expected to return.
What is the fighting about?
Ever since South Sudan separated from Sudan in July last year and became an independent nation, the two countries have been squabbling over valuable oil reserves in the border regions. This has provoked skirmishes, which have intensified in recent weeks.
In addition, South Sudan suffers from internal tribal conflicts that have displaced tens of thousands of people in recent months.
Why did South Sudan shut down its oil production?
South Sudan relies on Sudan’s oil pipelines, refineries, and other infrastructure to export its oil. Sudan accused South Sudan of not paying the oil transit fees for the use of its facilities and started seizing South Sudan oil in lieu of those fees. In response, South Sudan accused Sudan of stealing its oil and halted production.
What is the impact on children?
When food is scarce, children are the most vulnerable to malnutrition and starvation. When fighting rages, children’s schooling is disrupted. Older children risk being abducted and recruited by armed groups. During tribal fighting in South Sudan’s Warrap state in February, children were among those targeted and killed.
Moreover, about half the population of the country is composed of children, so they are disproportionally affected.
What does World Vision have to say about the Sudan/South Sudan conflict?
World Vision calls on the governments of both countries to cease fighting, end incursions into rival territory, end support for proxy militia groups, honor a non-aggression agreement signed by the two countries, and continue dialogue to solve the oil disagreement. All this will help build a better world for the children of both nations.
What is World Vision doing to help?
World Vision has extensive relief operations in border areas targeting more than 500,000 people.
• Food Security
Including: general food distribution, school meals, and child nutrition programs.
Including: drilling new borehole wells, distributing water purification tablets, and establishing emergency sanitation facilities.
Including: medical screening, immunization, promotion of good hygiene, and promotion of breastfeeding.
• Emergency Supplies
Including: distributing mosquito nets, blankets, plastic sheeting, soap, buckets.
• Child Protection
Including: tracing missing children, sensitizing communities to risks faced by children and how they can be mitigated, and establishment of Child-Friendly Spaces (safe areas for children to recover and enjoy fun activities).