【财神争霸破解论坛_财神争霸破解论坛官网】3 out of 4 South Sudanese children know nothing but war: UNICEF

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UNITED NATIONS, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Since South Sudan became the world's youngest country in 2011, 2.6 million of its 3.4 million babies, or three quarters of them, have been born in war, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Saturday.

"As South Sudan turns seven, a seemingly endless war continues to devastate the lives of millions of children," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director who visited the war-ravaged country earlier this year.

Conflict and underdevelopment have plagued the area for decades, leaving its children out of school, malnourished and vulnerable to disease, abuse and exploitation.

"Warring parties can and must do more to bring back peace," Fore said, adding that "the children of South Sudan deserve better."

Although South Sudan's independence in 2011 once gave a gleam of hope for a bright future, the civil war that erupted in 2013 rendered that short-lived.

Although 50 children have been released by armed groups since the beginning of the year, an estimated 19,000 others continue to serve as fighters, porters and messengers. The children also suffered from sporadic sexual abuse.

The proportion of people who do not know where their next meal will come from jumped from 35 percent in 2014 to nearly 50 percent at present, with some areas of the country just one step away from famine, especially during the lean season.

Malnutrition rates are at critical levels, as more than 1 million children are malnourished, including 50,000 on the brink of death.

With one third of the schools destroyed, occupied or closed since 2013, the conflict has deprived some 2 million children of education. The country now has the highest proportion of out-of-school children in the world.

Moreover, efforts to aid those in greatest need are being hampered.

Since 2013, more than 50 aid workers have been killed in violence, among them a UNICEF driver who was killed last week.

While a large number of refugees returned to South Sudan when the country gained independence, more than 2.5 million, including over 1 million children, have again fled the country since 2013.

On a brighter note, the signing of a permanent cease-fire between the two main warring parties in Khartoum last month was a positive step in what has been a faltering peace process.

"We now count on the leadership and commanders to respect it while ensuring that aid workers are given unrestricted access to those in need," Fore said.