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6,000 Children Reunited With Families After Years Of Separation In South Sudan

A South Sudanese returnee mother and her children arrive at the County Commissioners office in Udier town, South Sudan, on March 9, 2019. – Encouraged by a six-month lull in fighting as a peace deal holds for the first time since 2015, scores of South Sudanese are warily returning home from Ethiopia and Sudan. Many are for now staying in Udier, an opposition-controlled village relatively untouched by war in the Upper Nile region, keeping an eye on a peace deal which appears to have run worryingly aground, analysts and diplomats warn. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP) (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Family Tracing and Reunification (FTR) programme in South Sudan has reunited 6,000 children with their families after years of separation due to conflict.

The programme, which consists of Save the Children, UNICEF and other partners, celebrated the milestone on Wednesday. The first reunification, of 420 children, was done in 2014.

A seventeen-year-old girl was the 6000th child to be reunified. She and her four siblings were reunited with her parents in Bentiu on April 16.

The family of seven was separated during an armed attack in Bor in 2014. The family ran in different directions and hadn’t seen each other since.

Interim Country Director for Save the Children International South Sudan Arshad Malik described the moment the family reunited as an emotional moment for everyone involved.

UNICEF hailed the peace agreement signed in September 2018 which has provided an opportunity to step up family tracing and reunification. UNICEF wants adequate funding to maintain the programme.

UNICEF says almost 8,000 children in South Sudan are still missing or separated.

Family tracing is vital because separated and unaccompanied children are more susceptible to violence, abuse and exploitation.

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