As South Sudan Turns Five, More Than 4,000 Children Reunited With Family after Being Split Apart by Violence and War
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 8, 2016) — More than 4,000 children have been reunited with their families after being split apart by violence and war in South Sudan, since bloody conflict broke out in December 2013.
Many are traumatized having spent months or years without their parents, become displaced from their homes and exposed to violence in the war-torn East African country where British troops have recently deployed as peacekeepers.
Save the Children is now working to reunite the remaining 8,800 separated and unaccompanied children with their families.
This comes as the world’s newest country celebrates its fifth birthday on Saturday, July 9.
Since the onset of the conflict, more than 1.6 million people have been displaced within South Sudan and a more than 700,000 are seeking refuge in neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Uganda. Most are children.
Peter Walsh, Country Director for Save the Children in South Sudan, said: "A lot of children are separated from their families due to displacement and conflict, many of whom are undertaking long and treacherous journeys across South Sudan alone.
"The conflict has had a devastating impact on the whole population but especially children who are severely distressed due to the violence and trauma they have witnessed first-hand. The situation has placed them at increased risk of violence, abuse, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups. Many are out of school.
"What should be a celebration of another independent year is tainted with tragedy as South Sudan is now facing a double blow of worsening insecurity and an unfolding hunger crisis."
Brutal violence continues to plague the country, where more than 800 schools have been destroyed since December 2013, leaving more than half of children without access to education.
Up to 4.8 million South Sudanese people — more than one-third of the population — are expected to face severe food shortages this month. Many are concerned tensions could bubble over and fighting could start again, thrusting children and their families back into a war zone.
Video of children being reunited with family and other content is available on Save the Children’s Story Central portal.
Spokespeople in South Sudan are available for additional comment. Please contact Erin Taylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, to arrange an interview.
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