As a mother, there is nothing I can do

Nyalyauk Nyok, holding her 3-year-old Gatluak Wiyual, in Upper Nile State where UNICEF and WFP are helping families facing famine. Photo: UNICEF, 2014, Pflanz
Nyalyauk Nyok, holding her 3-year-old Gatluak Wiyual, in Upper Nile State where UNICEF and WFP are helping families facing famine. Photo: UNICEF, 2014, Pflanz

“The children here are sick, always sick, with headaches, tummy aches, coughs, diarrhoea, fevers.”

Life is difficult for mothers in South Sudan since violence broke out last December. Nyalyauk has a three year old, Gatluak, to care for but she is struggling to find food for her family. No international aid had reached their remote village in the Upper Nile State until UNICEF and partners WHO landed a few weeks ago on a Rapid Response Mission.

“Since the war came, there is nothing in the health centre, no supplies, no medicines. That means our families are suffering, and as a mother there is nothing that I can do to make it easier for them. We are eating only sorghum sometimes, maybe two weeks of each month, maybe less. In fact the main thing that we eat is grass and leaves, things we pick from the ground or the trees.”

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is on the brink of famine. More than 3.9 million people in South Sudan do not know where there next meal is coming from.

“There have been hard times here before, but not like this. This is the worst I have seen. Even the old women, who have lived for a long time, they say this is as bad as they have known it.”

UNICEF estimates that 50,000 children could die before the end of the year unless enough emergency food gets to them in time.

Children in South Sudan are dying from hunger. Please donate now to help save children’s lives