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Juba, South Sudan (23 December 2013):The current escalation of violence unfolding in South Sudan has brought more pain for a population already traumatized and still recovering from almost half a century of fighting and violence. CARE is deeply concerned that women and girls, already living in one of the world’s harshest environments, are at great risk.
“Some 42,000 people have sought refuge in UN compounds after fleeing their homes since the eruption of fighting a week ago. We are aware of at least nine babies being born in the compounds. While those women were fortunate to have support from the UN, it is likely that many more are being born outside of hospitals, without any support. We are concerned that the insecurity, which is now alarmingly spreading across the country, makes it even more difficult for women to access health care services, putting mothers and children at even greater risk,” said Aimee Ansari, Country Director for CARE in South Sudan.
Even before the current upsurge in violence, South Sudan had one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. Gender based violence is also widespread and shrouded in secrecy.
“The world’s newest nation is one of the most hostile environments for women and children, with women even more vulnerable when they are displaced. Women and girls are already most vulnerable and the current situation is putting them at even greater risk of rape and other forms of gender-based violence. Women who are displaced as a result of fleeing conflict lose the protection of their homes and families, and are very vulnerable,” said Aimee Ansari, Country Director for CARE in South Sudan.
South Sudan became independent in 2011 after decades of conflict. As a newest country in the world, South Sudan is struggling to meet the basic needs of its diverse and thinly spread population.
CARE currently runs programs in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity States. The programs focus on health, water, sanitation, livelihoods and peacebuilding for hundreds of thousands of people. Our ongoing programming works to raise awareness about gender-based violence and encourage men and women to stop this form of abuse.
We continue monitoring the situation closely while providing basic live-saving services where we can.
About CARE: CARE has been operating in Southern Sudan since 1993, initially providing humanitarian relief to internally displaced people in Western Equatoria. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 allowed CARE to expand into Jonglei and Upper Nile States to support returnees from the refugee camps.
Media contact: Adel Sarkozi (Geneva): +41 793 580 713, firstname.lastname@example.org