UN Spokesman: 37% of S. Sudanese Children Suffer Acute Malnutrition

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on Tuesday that some 37 percent of children in South Sudan’s Bentiu were acutely malnourished.

“Aid agencies in South Sudan continue to scale up water, sanitation, health and nutrition services in the site for displaced people in Bentiu, to tackle the high rate of child mortality,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, AFP reported.

“Food and nutrition agencies are stepping up screening and treatment to catch cases of malnutrition as early as possible, including at the gate for new arrivals,” Dujarric added.

According to the OCHA, many of the people arriving in Bentiu are reportedly driven by food insecurity in their home areas, which are close to the frontlines in the conflict.

Political infighting between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar turned into a full-fledged conflict that has claimed thousands of lives, left nearly 5 million in need of humanitarian assistance and led to atrocities being committed by both sides.

“In total, 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country, while more than 293,000 people have become refugees in neighboring countries since the crisis began in mid-December 2013, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.

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