Sending Bed Nets to Prevent a Looming Humanitarian Emergency in South Sudan

As I write the Security Council is meeting to discuss the latest round of violence along the Sudan-South Sudan border. Overnight, there were reports that Sudanese armed forces bombed several sites, including disputed oil fields, in what appears to be an escalation of a conflict that has already made refugees of 130,000 people fleeing to South Sudan.

The humanitarian situation is increasingly dire and one of the most urgent humanitarian challenges is to protect vulnerable populations from Malaria. This is already the number one killer of children under five years old in South Sudan, and refugee populations are at even a greater risk than the population at large.

Faced with this humanitarian challenge, The Nothing But Nets campaign is mobilizing a new bed net drive to send 100,000 insecticide-treated anti-malaria bed nets to South Sudan.  I just participated in a conference call about the crisis, what Nothing But Nets is doing to meet the challenge — and how some basketball stars and a Broadway philanthropy are helping the cause. Read below. Have a listen. And Send a Net.

Since last June, more than 130,000 refugees—and counting—have entered South Sudan and neighboring countries to escape fighting on the border of Sudan. As the situation worsens, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing food, water, and shelter. Yet malaria is the leading cause of death among children under five in South Sudan and families need another life-saving tool: insecticide-treated bed nets.

To meet this need, the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign is launching a nationwide appeal today to send 100,000 life-saving bed nets to help these families sleep safely. Broadway shows in Nederlander theaters across the U.S. are fundraising, and NBA stars like Stephen Curry are raising awareness, to help Nothing But Nets reach this goal as quickly as possible. On this call, on-the-ground experts and community leaders from around the U.S. will discuss the current situation in South Sudan, what they are doing to save lives, and how anyone can help

Mark Kirya, Program Officer, South Sudan, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

Stephen Curry, Point Guard, NBA Golden State Warriors

Ruth Riley, Center, WNBA Chicago Sky

Eileen LaCario, Vice President of Marketing, The Nederlander Organization

Chris Helfrich, Director, UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign

Moderator: Elizabeth Gore, Vice President, Global Partnerships, UN Foundation