A new home for Marthie and Gracie
Four years since South Sudan became an independent country, the humanitarian needs resulting from the conflict are reaching catastrophic levels. The UN estimates that 1.6 million people are currently displaced, more than 800,000 of whom are children under 18 years of age. More than 500,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries since the conflict began in December 2013. OCHA estimates that overall, more than 4.6 million South Sudanese, almost half the country’s population, are in severe hunger and in need of humanitarian assistance.
CARE needs your help to get relief to people who have fled recent political violence in South Sudan.
“There still are over a million people displaced across the country. Many are exhausted, traumatized and have had little food or water. Many are still too afraid to go home, and given the scale of the destruction, may have no home to return to,” said Aimee Ansari, former Country Director for CARE in South Sudan.
Around 500,000 South Sudanese have fled into neighbouring countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan. Uganda bears most of the brunt, with the number of refugees exceeding 93,000. The vast majority of refugees are women and children.
Immediate needs are: food, shelter, water and sanitation infrastructure, medical services, cooking and household supplies. Women and girls are especially at risk outside the protection of their homes and cut off from traditional support systems. The rainy season begins in April, increasing risks of flooding, disease, and food shortages, and preventing access to certain areas in need.
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CARE’s work in South Sudan focuses on health, nutrition, food security, peace building, and the rights and needs of women and girls. Even before the current crisis, South Sudan had some of the worst development indicators in the world. The conflict that began in December 2013 is both brutal and protracted, and will take the country decades to recover.
CARE works closely with people in remote communities who have no other access to services, notably in health and nutrition in Unity state. In 2014, we provided assistance to more than 550,000 South Sudanese in the three states most affected by the conflict. With the crisis now in its second year, the Protection of Civilian sites (PoCs) at UN bases are sheltering more than 100,000 of the 1.5 million South Sudanese displaced by the conflict. Over a million South Sudanese are sheltering outside these areas, with families and host communities. Many of these communities have little or no access to humanitarian assistance; they’re either cut off by fighting, by distance/infrastructure, and/or seasonal rains and flooding.
We believe these are the people who most need our assistance, and we’ve realigned our program to enable us to reach them.
Among the displaced and refugees, women and girls are particularly at risk. The vast majority of internally displaced people and refugees are women and children. Many women have had to flee with their children as their husbands stayed behind, rendering them vulnerable outside the protection of their families and homes. Staff in CARE-supported health facilities have reported a drop in the number of women accessing reproductive health services. Pregnant women need essential medical care and the recent situation – lack of access to basic reproductive health services and the closure or destruction of health care facilities due to violence – has put their and their babies’ lives at risk.
Click here to read more about CARE's response in South Sudan.
What will this country be like in ten years? I wish I knew. I pray that we are together again as one nation. I pray for stability, and for South Sudan to be a country where women can speak up and not to be ashamed.