Ricardo Pires is 37 years old and has worked for UNICEF as a Communication Specialist since April 2008.
I’ve been in South Sudan for two weeks now as part of the UNICEF emergency surge team to support the rapidly aggravating crisis in the world’s newest country. Over one million people have now been displaced as a result of the ongoing crisis and violent conflict.
Saving children’s lives
Children are particularly vulnerable to severe malnutrition and disease outbreaks in an emergency. One of the most immediate issues, with the onset of the rains getting closer, is sanitation and hygiene provision in the Protection of Civilian camps where families displaced from their homes by violence are sheltering.
Cholera is a big threat and suspected (and thankfully unconfirmed) cases in Tomping have already raised the alert. A UNICEF supported cholera vaccination campaign to prevent an outbreak is underway and we’re increasing the number of outpatient therapeutic sites to treat more malnourished children.
I took this photo of a girl playing around a small pond of filth. She has no idea how dangerous the dirty water can be.
— Ricardo Pires (@RicardoP_UNICEF) March 23, 2014
UNICEF is providing protection and support for children separated from their families by the ongoing violence. Our Family Tracing teams work to reunite children with their families.
— Ricardo Pires (@RicardoP_UNICEF) March 29, 2014
Hardest to reach
Next is a mission to Upper Nile State to deliver aid to 55,000 people in urgent need of help. UNICEF and partners have developed a rapid response mechanism that allows us to bring humanitarian aid to affected families in hard-to-access locations.
— Ricardo Pires (@RicardoP_UNICEF) April 6, 2014
How you can help
Since the crisis began in mid-December, UNICEF has reached approximately 250,000 people in South Sudan with clean water, sanitation, vaccines, education and child protection assistance.