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South Sudan war leaving children severely malnourished

South Sudanese children at Kule refugee camp. Some of the most vulnerable - especially children under 5, pregnant women and nursing mothers - have registered alarmingly high malnutrition rates on arrival to Ethiopia.
South Sudanese children at Kule refugee camp. Some of the most vulnerable - especially children under 5, pregnant women and nursing mothers - have registered alarmingly high malnutrition rates on arrival to Ethiopia.
WFP/Lisa Bryant

The conflict in South Sudan has caused hunger and malnutrition rates to soar. Hundreds of thousands have fled the country in search of safety and food. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says there are 2000 people a day arriving in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan.

WFP, in a report released this week, said among refugees in Kenya, "nutrition screenings indicate that the global acute malnutrition level is significantly higher than emergency threshold and the highest since the crisis." Special nutritional foods are being distributed. It's urgent to receive this food because malnutrition will cause lasting physical and mental damage in children.

Funding is low for the feeding of refugees. WFP needs US $ 76 million for its regional mission. Not even half of the funds have been received.

The United Nations is also reporting, "The nutrition situation is deteriorating in Guit, Koch and Rubkona counties in Unity State" of South Sudan. If the conflict between the government and opposition forces continues, this hunger crisis will get much worse.

WFP has set up a donation page for South Sudan.