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Amid South Sudan’s War, Miss World Pageant Carries On

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In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, the winner of Miss World South Sudan 2017, Arual Longar, poses for a portrait at a shelter for street children in Juba, South Sudan. VOA
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Amid the ethnic violence, famine and mass displacement in South Sudan’s war, a Miss World pageant carries on in one of the world’s most devastated countries.

Dozens of young women are using the international beauty pageants to advocate for peace at home and abroad. Contestants call the pageant a way to help others and change global perceptions.

ALSO READ: South Sudan Artists Protest against Civil War with Peace Campaign, Pop-up Street Performances and Murals

South Sudan's war
“They think we’re just a war-torn country and then they see our girls,” one former supermodel says. Pixabay

 

Women and girls have been targets of horrific violence in South Sudan’s war. For the vast majority of people in the deeply impoverished East African country, the annual beauty pageants are unknown or simply a dream.

But organizers are determined to deliver on the theme “beauty with a purpose.” (VOA)

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2 War-Stricken Towns In Somalia Finally Receive Health care : UN

It is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home.

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hunger, health care
IOM delivers emergency and essential health services to Bulla Gaduud and Gobweyn, areas recently liberated by the government in Lower Juba region of south-eastern Somalia. VOA

The UN Migration Agency has begun providing life-saving health care to two Somali towns previously inaccessible because of war and conflict.

Tens of thousands of people in the towns of Gobweyn and Bulla Gaduud have been deprived of life-saving health care for nearly three decades. These areas have been too dangerous for aid workers to reach because of the never-ending cycles of war and conflict in the area.

In recent months, International Organization for Migration spokesman, Joel Millman says government forces have succeeded in subduing the armed groups that have made life a misery for local inhabitants. This, he says has opened up these areas to outside help.

hunger, health care
Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

“For the past 27 years, war and conflict have made healthcare access difficult or impossible in many parts of the country. Now these communities have access to vaccinations, malaria treatment, antenatal care for pregnant mothers, malnutrition screenings and referrals, among other essential services,” Millman said.

Millman says aid agencies who finally were able to reach these towns were dismayed by the prevailing conditions. He says they found high levels of malnutrition and extremely poor immunization coverage.

hunger, health care
A Somali woman walks through a camp of people displaced from their homes elsewhere in the country by the drought, shortly after dawn in Qardho, Somalia, March 9, 2017. Source: VOA NEWS

Because the towns had no humanitarian services, he says many people had abandoned their villages. He says they were living in overcrowded settlements in far-away urban centers where medical care was available.

Also Read: Somalia Calls To Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation

He says it is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home. (VOA)