South Sudan’s Humanitarian Crisis Has Displaced Over 1 Million Children

In this Thursday, April 6, 2017 photo, South Sudanese children carry water jugs down a road in the new Imvepi refugee settlement in northern Uganda. AP

A simmering conflict in South Sudan has forced more than one million children to seek refuge in neighboring countries, creating one of the most significant refugee crises in the world, the United Nations said on Sunday.

“No refugee crisis today worries me more than South Sudan,” said Valentin Tapsoba, Africa Bureau Director at UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency. “That refugee children are becoming the defining face of this emergency is incredibly troubling. We, all in the humanitarian community, need most urgent, committed and sustainable support to be able to save their lives.”

The U.N. estimates that some 1.8 million people have fled South Sudan, more than 6 in 10 of whom are minors under 18 years of age.

At least 75,000 minors have cross South Sudan’s borders either unaccompanied or separated from their families.

More than 1,000 children have been killed since conflict flared up in 2013, and more than three quarters of the country’s children are not in school, the highest share of any country in the world, the U.N. said.

Some 5 million people in South Sudan struggle to find enough food, according to the U.N. World Food Programme, with more than 250,000 children facing malnutrition as a result.

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J.J. Gallagher