South Sudan: World Vision calls for protection of children as tens of thousands displaced by intense fighting

The fighting that erupted in the world’s newest nation of South Sudan in the past five days has displaced an estimated 36,000 people, many of them extremely vulnerable children. 

Despite massive challenges, World Vision officials in the country’s capital, Juba, say they aim is to reach as many of the people who have been displaced as possible with emergency relief aid.

Jeremiah Young, World Vision South Sudan's Policy, Advocacy and Peacebuilding Advisor said: "Many of those who have been displaced are currently seeking safety and security in churches, UN sites and in safer zones of the city.

“World Vision staff - who have been forced to hibernate to escape the very real threat that the fighting of the last few days has brought to the city –want to get out to deliver aid as soon as the security situation is deemed safe. Our aim will be to deliver food and nutrition aid, deliver water and sanitation services and provide urgently needed relief items, including shelter.  We will also set up child protection centres and activities to help children who we know will be emotionally distressed by what they have witnessed and experienced over the past few days."

Violence erupted in the world’s newest nation on Thursday (July 7), raising fears of a return to full-blown civil war.

"We remain deeply concerned for the wellbeing of children.  This outbreak of violence over the past few days, which came as the country should have been celebrating its fifth year of independence, highlights how fragile peace is. Without peace, without national and community leadership to encourage peace, the future of the country’s children remains highly vulnerable,”Young added.

World Vision has been coordinating with the UN and with humanitarian organisations both in Juba and in Nairobi, the East Africa hub for regional international humanitarian organisations.

Young explained: “World Vision and many other international humanitarian organisations are committed to doing all they can for children. However, we need an environment in which we can work to partner with the government and other institutions to bring about the desperately needed development that will lift one of the poorest countries in the world off its heels.  Children need peace and all the benefits that flow from it.

If the ceasefire holds, World Vision will begin operations as soon as logistics and security allow. We estimate that to run a 30-day response operation will cost $2m dollars and are looking for grant and donors to help us to alleviate the suffering of those displaced," continued Young.

For more information, please contact: Brenda Yu, Media Relations Officer, World Vision UK 
Direct Line: 01908 244 598 mobile: 07786 333 784

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