8 June 2014

South Sudan - a Poor Harvest Means an Uncertain Future

South Sudan, the world's newest country, is just three years old tomorrow - yet it is in turmoil. After six months of conflict, thousands are dead and those who survive are suffering; the country's resources remain untapped and what little infrastructure there was is crumbling. And now, the rainy season is here...

Very little to harvest, and very little to eat:

Conflict has prevented people planting their crops and humanitarian organisations from delivering aid. This means that when the rainy season is over, there will be very little to harvest, and very little to eat.

The impact on nutrition and health could be devastating.

If the conflict continues, people will continue to leave their homes or even to abandon the camps they have temporarily called home.

Movement of populations can be traumatic for both the individuals forced to flee and relocate, and for the communities that end up hosting them. It can also put pressure on the humanitarian organisations trying to provide assistance to the most vulnerable.

With rains, fighting, and limited resources, the outlook is ominous for the people of South Sudan.

Cholera threatens:

Also of high concern for everyone here is the cholera outbreak declared on 15 May in Juba, the country's capital. The number of cases has risen dramatically over the last few days, from 395 on 22 May to 892 on 28 May. This is extremely worrying for people living in the camps, in particular: cholera can spread furiously in these uncertain conditions.

So the people of South Sudan, who are already dealing with violence, continued and ongoing displacement, food shortages leading to high malnutrition rates, and disruptive wet weather, are now potentially life-threatening diseases.

Doing all we can:

Save the Children is on the ground, doing whatever it takes to reach the people in some of the most remote areas of South Sudan with vital assistance. A woman I recently spoke to in Awerial said to me, "We thank God for guiding us safely from the fighting, and for Save the Children, who are giving our children a place to play and learn."

It is going to be a glum third birthday for South Sudan but until things improve, Save the Children will be there, doing all we can.

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