A million children have fled violence in South Sudan: UN agencies

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South Sudanese refugees arrive at the Elegu border collection point in Adjumani district, northern Uganda. (file) Photo: UNHCR/Barb Wigley

More than one million children have fled the world's youngest country, South Sudan, amid escalating violence and humanitarian crisis.

That's according to a joint statement released on Monday from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UNHCR, the Refugee Agency.

More details from Matthew Wells.

South Sudan has been convulsed by conflict since 2013, when forces loyal to the president began fighting with troops loyal to his sacked deputy.

The brutal conflict has become increasingly inter-communal and potentially genocidal, with famine now officially declared in some places.

An estimated 5.5 million are projected to be facing serious hunger within weeks, and around two million overall are displaced.

"The horrifying fact that nearly one in five children in South Sudan has been forced to flee their home" and the country, "illustrates how devastating this conflict has been," said Leila Pakkala, UNICEF's Regional Director.

She said the future of a whole generation was now "truly on the brink" as a similar number of children were displaced inside South Sudan.

Children make up 62 per cent of more than 1.8 million refugees from South Sudan.

Most have arrived in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Nearly three-quarters of the country's children are out of school: the highest proportion of anywhere in the world.

More than 75,000 refugee children in neighbouring countries have crossed South Sudan's border alone, or separated from their families, the agencies said. 

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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