This grim picture has been drawn by the United Nations and revealed shortly after South Sudan declared independence of Sudan on July 9th.
In fact, the UN reports that South Sudan has “some of the worst development indicators” on Earth.
**Stabilisation, Humanitarian, Social Action And Justice**
Lise Grande, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, told an international meeting in Geneva on July 19th that the UN Country Team will align with the new Government’s priorities in four areas: humanitarian action, stabilisation and protection, social progress and justice, and State take-off and accountability.
Grande told the meeting, organised by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), that the South Sudanese population of an estimated 9 million people is “overwhelmingly young, rural, poor and uneducated.”
**As Big As France Or Afghanistan Or Kenya, But…**
Only about four per cent of arable land in South Sudan –whose territory is close to that of France, Afghanistan or Kenya– is cultivated and just one per cent of households have a bank account, she said.
Half the population does not have access to safe drinking water and it is estimated that only one person in five uses a health-care facility in their lifetime, according to Grande, who noted also that fewer than 10 per cent of children finish primary school.
“A 15-year-old girl living in South Sudan has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than completing school,” she said.
**Not All Bad News Are So Bad**
But Grande noted that South Sudan has also made substantial progress since 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan.
Multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections were held last year for the first time, a police service, a prison service and a judiciary have been established and more than 6,000 kilometres of road have been upgraded, linking key cities and towns.
She added that primary school enrolment has quadrupled, infection rates from Guinea worm have slumped by more than 90 per cent and the country is now considered polio free.
Grande stressed that the UN would aim to help the country meet the needs of returnees and internally displaced persons, extend State authority into insecure areas, assist in boosting living conditions, fight impunity, and ensure governments are accountable and transparent.
Copyright © 2011 Human Wrongs Watch
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