South Sudan: a poor harvest means an uncertain future
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is not quite three years old – 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…
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 be forced to leave their homes or even to abandon the camps they are temporarily calling home.
Displacement is traumatic for everyone involved: the individuals forced to relocate, and the communities that end up hosting them. It can also put pressure on the humanitarian organisations trying to help the most vulnerable.
As if violence, displacement and the threat of hunger weren’t bad enough, a cholera outbreak was 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 conditions.
Doing all we can
Save the Children is on the ground, doing whatever it takes to reach 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.”
We will continue to be there, doing all we can, as long as we are needed. Still, 9 July is going to be a glum third birthday for South Sudan.