Up to 250,000 South Sudanese children are facing starvation due to military battles witnessed by the country since 2013, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.
South Sudan secured its independence in 2011. However, it plunged into violent clashes in December 2013 as fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Riek Machar.
The war has left thousands of South Sudanese dead and displaced about 1.9 million people.
Toby Lanzer, UN humanitarian coordinator recently expelled from South Sudan, said in a report Tuesday, that “in half of the country, one in three children are acutely malnourished and 250,000 children face starvation,”
He added that according to statistics two-thirds of the country’s 12 million people are in dire need of aid, pointing out that 4.5 million face severe food vulnerability.
Lanzer further expects that the continuing war in South Sudan will lead to “economic collapse,” noting that “six months ago, we assumed the violence and suffering had come to a head and peace was on the horizon. We were wrong.”
Recall that the South Sudanese government expelled Lanzer early this month owing to his harsh criticisms of the government.
Recent military clashes at South Sudan’s oil-rich Upper Nile and Unity States displaced thousands of civilians, who fled to safe areas or UN protection bases.