Children Abandoned in South Sudan Due to Mass Hunger

At an Islamic centre, the abandoned children are fed and given an education At an Islamic centre, the abandoned children are fed and given an education © Henry Wilkins/Al Jazeera

13 July 2016
Parents abandon children amid drought and conflict.



Mass hunger due to drought is forcing parents to abandon their children fleeing mass hunger in South Sudan. A two-year drought has left 300 children abandoned by their parents in the region of Bahr el-Ghazal in northern South Sudan.

In addition to the effects of the drought, which left little in the way of harvests, cross-border trade has halted following the closure of the border with South Sudan by the Sudanese government, exacerbating the already dire economic conditions in the area. Given that it is illegal to cross the border, it is easier to do so without children, reports an NGO worker.

NGO access to the area to deliver humanitarian aid has been hampered amid security concerns due to recent fighting between the opposing armies of President Kiir and Vice-President Machar. Heavy fighting in the Juba area has forced thousands to leave their homes, with about 3,000 seeking refuge in the compound of the World Food Programme (WFP), housing its office and warehouse. A mosque run by a welfare organization in the town of Majook is also housing abandoned children.

Given the lack of access to the drought-affected areas to deliver humanitarian assistance, Aid organizations operating in the area have called on the international community to help restore peace in the area to facilitate access to the vulnerable children. However, some reports suggest that some governments of European countries are evacuating its citizens, many of whom are humanitarian aid workers, due to the conflict.

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