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South Sudan

Knightley: 'What I saw and heard was worse than I could have ever imagined'

If the aid effort does not increase in South Sudan – 50,000 children could die from malnutrition.

Abbie Trayler-Smith Abbie Trayler-Smith

I spoke to women who have lost their husbands and children within months of one another. They are now alone trying desperately to get through each day struggling to provide enough food and water to keep them and their remaining children alive.

ACTRESS KEIRA KNIGHTLEY travelled to South Sudan with Oxfam and witnessed the desperate plight of families struggling to survive.

“I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in South Sudan, but what I saw and heard was worse than I could have ever imagined.

All of those I met were suffering a terrible trauma unbearable to comprehend.

Today is the third anniversary of South Sudan’s independence and Knightley is calling for support for Oxfam Ireland’s appeal for South Sudan.

Since the conflict broke out in December 2013, more than 1.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety.

Most people were forced to flee with just the clothes on their backs, leaving behind possessions, crops and livestock with no means to buy food, water or other vital essentials.

South Sudan is Africa’s worst crisis with nearly four million – a third of the country’s population – at risk of severe hunger.

The UN has warned that if the aid effort does not increase 50,000 children could die from malnutrition.

Abbie Trayler-Smith Abbie Trayler-Smith

Bor Camp

Last month, Knightley travelled with Oxfam to Bor camp in Jonglei State. It’s one of the most affected areas of South Sudan.

People are living in atrocious conditions and walking knee deep in mud and water.

Many people have died from the spread of disease that comes with poor sanitation – ever increasing with the seasonal heavy rains.

Abbie Trayler-Smith Abbie Trayler-Smith

Keira said, “The people I met are facing a relentless crisis of war, hunger and disease.

I met just a few of the thousands of families who are desperately trying to survive each day, but they can’t do it alone, they need our help.

Famine is a real threat in the coming months, and Keira is supporting Oxfam Ireland’s urgent appeal to provide food and water to thousands of families who are in desperate need.

Abbie Trayler-Smith Abbie Trayler-Smith

Read: Sudanese woman who escaped death row charged with forgery>

Read: Ireland gave more than €637m in overseas aid last year>

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