JUBA, JUNE 19, 2015 (CISA) – Toby Lanzer, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan has warned that a quarter of a million children face starvation in the country due to the 18-month conflict.
“Six months ago, we thought that violence and suffering had peaked and that peace was on the horizon. We were wrong,” said Lanzer in a report.
“In half of the country, one in three children are acutely malnourished and 250,000 children face starvation,” AFP quoted Lanzer as saying.
According to the UN, two-thirds of the country’s 12 million people need aid, with 4.5 million people facing severe food insecurity following the civil war that began in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar of planning a coup.
This led to a deadly conflict across the country that has split the world newest country along ethnic lines.
Lanzer who was barred from the country earlier this month after warning of an economic meltdown said: “Political intransigence left peace ever more distant; war raged on and is leading to economic collapse.”
He further called on donors to contribute to a $1.63 billion aid appeal, saying South Sudan ranked “lower in terms of human development than just about every other place on earth.”
The African Union on June 16 released a statement condemning the warring leaders and called on the UN Security Council to slap sanctions on them.
“The continuation of hostilities, in total disregard of the suffering of the people, is tantamount to the abdication by the South Sudanese leaders of their most fundamental responsibility to their own people,” the AU Peace and Security Council said.