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EMERGENCY ALERT: Save the Children is deeply concerned about the situation in South Sudan, where approximately 500,000 have been affected by escalating violence. We are assessing our response to the current crisis, in addition to our existing programs.
Save the Children's Humanitarian Response
The world's youngest country, South Sudan gained indepence just two years ago. South Sudan has been devastated by decades of war in which 2 million people have died and 4 million have been forced to flee, and continue to face humanitarian crises. Currently, South Sudan is the scene of Africa's longest running civil war.
Save the Children has been working in South Sudan since 2000 (prior to independence), implementing programs in 9 of the country's 10 states. We have emergency response programs that focus on child protection and education in emergencies to ensure the children of South Sudan remain safe.
Southern Sudan has among the highest infant-mortality rates and the lowest education indicators in the world. Children who were forced to serve as child soldiers and children orphaned by the war have severe emotional and psycho-social needs.
The repeated blows to the infrastructure and institutions have created extremely limited basic and necessary services. School attendance rates are among the lowest globally, especially among girls. Most families go without basic health care. There is little access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, fostering the spread of infectious diseases.
Despite independence, the situation remains challenging. Children in South Sudan have long experienced disruption and displacement due to decades of insecurity. Recently, this has forced at least 175,000 people to flee their homes and seek safety in camps for refugees and displaced families.
Among the refugees located in the camps are vast numbers of children, estimated to be around 60% of the total population. These children are facing significant threats to their physical security, development and wellbeing.
Families are also struggling with worsening food shortages that mean half of the families in South Sudan aren't even sure if they will get to eat every day. For children, the food shortage is particularly dangerous.
The most recent household and health survey – before the latest influx of refugees – found in young children under the age of five:
In response, Save the Children is sustaining its lifesaving and life-changing programs for South Sudanese children. Our relief workers are supporting the distribution of vital shelter and other critical humanitarian aid. Learn more and find out how you can help.
As health is the first step towards recovery, Save the Children manages 61 primary health care facilities with local partners. Our centers treat children with diarrhea, malaria and respiratory infections – which untreated can be life-threatening. In 2010, more than 111,000 children received health treatment at the facilities.
Maternal health is supported through prenatal care, labor and delivery services and postnatal care services. We also offer preventive and public health programs including immunizations, education, hygiene and sanitation.
As South Sudan's refugees return from countries with high rates of HIV/AIDS infection, there is the potential for a spike in Sudan's relatively low HIV infection rate. Save the Children has worked with local partners to make voluntary counseling and testing available at health centers.
Child protection efforts includes training, education and services. In 2010, we helped reunite 150 children who were separated by conflict from their families, including some who were forced to be child soldiers. These young survivors now have access to social protection and livelihoods.
Save the Children is also improving the quality of education by training teachers and tutors, as well as by making sure schools have latrines, clean water and teaching materials. In 2010, over 155,000 children were provided quality education in schools supported by Save the Children, up 88% from 2009.
South Sudan Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children's 2012 State of the World's Mothers report. You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Infant Mortality Rate: CIA World Factbook 2012; Life Expectancy at Birth: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; National Poverty Rate: World Bank's World Development Indicators 2012; Population: CIA World Factbook 2012; Human Development Index Rank: United Nations Development Program
Last Updated December 2013