The United Nations says a quarter of a million children face starvation in South Sudan as tensions rage on in the poverty-stricken African country.
“In half of the country, one in three children are acutely malnourished and 250,000 children face starvation,” said Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, who was barred from the country earlier this month after warning of economic collapse in the country.
The expelled UN aid chief urged donors to contribute to a USD1.63-billion aid appeal, warning that violence and suffering were raging on in the country.
“The most recent fighting has been characterized by widespread burning of homes, demolition of schools, hospitals and health posts … destruction of water points and other assaults on infrastructure and assets necessary for communal life,” he added.
South Sudan plunged into chaos in December 2013, when fighting broke out between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy and current rebel leader Riek Machar.
According to the UN, at least two-thirds of the country’s 12 million population need aid, with 800,000 people suffering from “emergency levels of hunger.”
The UN estimates that tens of thousands of people have been killed and another 1.5 million displaced since the conflict began in South Sudan.
It is also estimated that the number of hungry people in South Sudan will rise to 4.6 million by the end of July.