Women and children flee famine and war in South Sudan
“The children and the elderly, they slaughtered them…. I’ve seen children tied to their dead mother and thrown in the river”
South Sudanese refugees have been describing the horrors that have forced hundreds of thousands of women and children to flee to sanctuary in neighbouring Uganda.
Since the fighting escalated in July 2016 more than half a million refugees have escaped from South Sudan.
The plight of the citizens of the world’s youngest country has been compounded by the onset of famine.
Hungry and frightened
Of the 1.5 million people who have fled since December 2013, 86% are women and children.
Many of these people have witnessed terrible atrocities, arriving in neighbouring countries terrified, hungry and too frequently alone.
Due to the East Africa Food Crisis, Save the Children workers are seeing increasing numbers of malnourished children, who are often too scared to talk and don’t know where their parents are, or if they are alive.
Pete Walsh, Save the Children’s Country Director in South Sudan, said:
“We are extremely concerned by UN warnings of atrocities in South Sudan and call on the parties to the conflict to protect civilians caught up in it.”
“The testimonies we are hearing are horrifying. Children are arriving alone, having been forced to flee their homes in search for safety and protection. Many are on the brink of starvation. Famine has already been declared in three locations and will spread, unless the world opens its eyes to this catastrophe.”
“Save the Children is working across South Sudan and supporting refugees in Uganda. All parties to the conflict must ensure civilians are protected and aid workers are able to continuing delivering life-saving health-care and protection to vulnerable, innocent children.”
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*Names changed to protect identities.