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Calls for South Sudan leaders to put children first

JUBA, South Sudan (January 13, 2014) — World Vision, one of the largest aid agencies working in South Sudan, is calling on all parties to listen to the cries of the afflicted children and seek a negotiated solution to the nearly month-long conflict in the country.

“Children are arriving to places of sanctuary unaccompanied. They are tired, hungry and afraid. Many of them are in grave danger of contracting malaria as a result of spending nights in the bush. And they are vulnerable to other diseases -- depending on the living conditions where they run to and the lack of medical services,” said Perry Mansfield, the director of World Vision’s programs in South Sudan.

“We are appealing to the South Sudan Government and opposition to cease hostilities immediately and listen to the children, who are now in desperate need of help,” Mansfield said.

World Vision, working alongside other aid agencies, has trained nearly 3,000 displaced people in Malakal town, Upper Nile on how to improve sanitation and hygiene to avoid diseases. The organization helped them to set up water and sanitation committees to ensure standards of cleanliness within the compound are maintained. In addition, World Vision is distributing relief supplies, including plastic sheeting for emergency shelter and hygiene kits donated by USAID, to displaced communities in Upper Nile and Unity states of South Sudan.

Aid agencies, including World Vision, have had some of their offices and warehouses in the affected areas vandalized. World Vision would like to remind all parties to the conflict of their responsibility to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access as well as abide by international humanitarian law to protect children and other civilians from attack in the conflict affected areas.

World Vision is also responding to the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese who have fled their country into neighboring Uganda and Kenya.

“We need immediate access to the needy population across the country to save lives. Despite the deteriorating security in South Sudan, we continue to work toward recovery and development in areas where the security situation allows. We are closely monitoring the security situation, as we respond to immediate needs in the conflict affected states,” Mansfield said.

ENDS

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