Nyayian Lul waits with her infant son to receive some much-needed humanitarian aid – food, medicine and water – from the UNICEF and WFP rapid response team that have arrived by helicopter to her village in Upper Nile State, South Sudan.
“No one has been here to help us for more than six months.”
Her husband, a schoolteacher, is struggling to provide for his wife and their six children. Her infant twins, born in October, are malnourished. “We don’t have any proper food to give them,” she tells us.
“We can find sorghum or maize flour at the market, but that is three days’ walking distance each way, and for each four sacks of sorghum, we have to sell one cow.
“We do not have the money, or enough cows. It’s not just food – we have nothing now.”
All Nyayian can feed her children is grasses and plants that grow wild in the village. None of these provide anywhere close to the amount of nutrients or energy that a child or a pregnant or breastfeeding mother needs.
“Before this was a nice place. We did not have many problems. Then the war came. We had to flee, only with these clothes. When we returned, our pots and pans, even our bed sheets and blankets, had been stolen.”
The conflict that broke out at the end of 2013 forced over one million people to flee their homes and many small farmers have missed planting season. UNICEF’s Rapid Response missions are addressing the immediate needs of families affected by conflict and hunger – bringing food, medicine, water and sanitation, as well as child protection and education to thousands of people in hard to reach areas.
South Sudan 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. UNICEF estimates that 50,000 children could die before the end of the year unless enough emergency food gets to them in time.
The children of South Sudan cannot wait. Donate now to help save children’s lives