The United Nations says more than 50-thousand children could lose their lives because of hunger and disease in conflict-torn South Sudan.
“The consequences could be dire: 50,000 children could die this year if they do not get assistance,” AFP quoted the UN aid chief for South Sudan Toby Lanzer as saying on Saturday.
He underlined that nearly one and a half million people have been forced from their homes since the beginning of the violence six months ago.
According to him, more than a billion dollars is needed to thwart the humanitarian crisis in the world’s youngest nation.
The political crisis in South Sudan began after President Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused Machar, a Nuer and his vice president, of attempting a coup in December 2013.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s tribe against Machar’s.
The two warring sides have signed two cease-fire accords in recent months, but they didn’t last more than hours.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million displaced in the war. Over 94,000 civilians have also been forced to live in eight UN bases in the country, while many others have fled to neighboring states, particularly Uganda and Ethiopia.
“Even if the cessation of hostilities holds… fighting and displacement has already shattered the lives of millions of people,” Lanzer told reporters, adding, “Cholera has broken out, malaria is rampant and many children are malnourished. Millions of people need emergency healthcare, food, clean water, proper sanitation and shelter to make it through the year.”