Tens of thousands of children in the world’s newest nation are on the brink of starvation.
The war in South Sudan has forced farmers from their land, closed supply routes and displaced almost 1 million people.
The United Nations is warning that without urgent help, as many as 50,000 children may die.
An appeal has been launched to help get aid into the country. A total of $1.8 billion is needed but so far only $600 million has been pledged.
“My child does not have any food to eat because there is no good food for her,” one mother says. “I am the only one who normally eats.”
When asked what it was she was eating that could not be fed to children, she goes quiet and then admits to foraging in the scrub to find grass and leaves.
Save The Children works in the rebel-held village of Akobo, handing out ultra-high calorie rations to the hungriest mouths.
Peter Walsh, director of the charity’s South Sudan program, says the civil war has caused 4 million people to be food insecure and 2.5 million of those are children.
“The prediction that UNICEF have just published is that if we don’t act now, and get the funding that’s required, 50,000 children will die by the end of this year due to malnutrition,” he said.
“It’s extremely scary.”
Fighting has caused more than 1 million people to flee their homes. Many have crossed the borders into Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
Others still are walking – footing, as the South Sudanese say – to places like Akobo.
The rich soil there is cracked and dry. The rains have not come. Maize and sorghum crops are established but they do not look like they will yield a crop.
The leaves are withering and the colour is fading and there is no help from the capital Juba because Akobo is rebel-held territory.
“The situation is clearly precarious,” Mr Walsh said.
“I mean, 50,000 children will die by the end of the year if something is not done.”