Children and women in line for water, Jamam refugee camp, South Sudan

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    Children and women queue for the water points to being pumping water at the Jamam refugee camp.

    One year after South Sudan’s independence, the young country is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the war in 2005, under the weight of severe economic meltdown and ongoing conflict. Long-term and emergency efforts to help nearly half the population, who don’t have enough to eat, could be derailed by an economy out of control.

    Vital spending on infrastructure and services such as new roads, schools, healthcare and water systems is being slashed, as the country faces economic catastrophe. The price of food and fuel has reached unprecedented levels. Inflation shot from 21.3 percent in February to 80 percent in May, pushing essential food and supplies way beyond the reach of ordinary people. Half of South Sudan’s 9.7 million people are facing food shortages – more than double the number last year.

    In South Sudan’s Upper Nile region, where Oxfam is delivering water and sanitation to refugees who continue to flee fighting in Sudan, inflation and conflict have forced fuel prices up by 111 percent. A 200-liter barrel of fuel now costs up to $1600, compared to $600 in January this year. One barrel lasts just two days to pump water into Oxfam’s water tanks for the 32,000 people in Jamam refugee camp.

    Read more: One year on, South Sudan falters under failing economy

    Photo: John Ferguson/Oxfam

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