South Sudan - A Humanitarian Crisis

A drawing by a child at the IDP camp in Malakal, showing his experiences. Photograph: Unicef

I had the honour of interviewing UNICEF Deputy Representative Ettie Higgins from South Sudan.  Please listen to the sound file below, and please share.

Here are some excerpts from a recent article in The Guardian of Ettie Higgins describing the current situation and human devestation.  To read the full interview, click the link below.  -CA

From the Guardian October 28, 2015 "A level of human suffering I have never seen anywhere else" - Ettie Higgins, Unicef’s deputy representative to South Sudan, has worked inDarfurSomaliaCentral African Republic and Syria. But she has never seen a humanitarian emergency as fast-moving or as unpredictable as that of South Sudan.

“People are extremely malnourished,” she says. “We’re seeing massively high rates of malnutrition among mothers who have been feeding everything to their children, including the tubers of waterlilies. The mothers are arriving at [the Bentiu protection of civilians camp in the northern Unity State] and literally collapsing at the gate. That is something – that level of human suffering and desperation – that I have never seen anywhere else.

On every level, adds Higgins, it is children who are paying the highest price for the conflict: about 15,000 are estimated to have been recruited as child soldiers; almost 1,500 have been killed in the fighting, and thousands more have died from malaria, cholera, diarrhoea and malnutrition. She says the numbers will only rise if the fighting does not stop and aid agencies cannot reach those areas most acutely in need of help.

But Higgins is all too aware of South Sudan’s place in the hierarchy of forgotten wars – somewhere below Yemen, somewhere above Central African Republic.

“I know it’s coming at a time when we’re seeing horrific pictures coming out of the migrant or refugee crisis – and I know it’s a more difficult story to tell – but it is no less worth telling,” she says.

“That’s part of the tragedy of South Sudan. People don’t always want to know about it or take the time to understand it.”

To link to the full aticle in The Guardian, please click here.

Charles interviews UNICEF Deputy Representative Ettie Higgins from South Sudan.