Christian Aid has begun assisting civilians displaced by the recent spate of inter-communal violence in the remote town of Pipor in Jonglei state, South Sudan, and urges a swift end to escalating hostilities. The government in Juba has now declared Jonglei a ’humanitarian disaster area’ and has appealed for international assistance to help end the crisis.
“There can be no meaningful development or any sustainable nationhood unless fundamental issues which affect the essence of interdependence and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic communities in South Sudan are addressed,” says Yitna Tekaligne Country Manager, for Christian Aid, Sudan and South Sudan
As a member of ACT Alliance, Christian Aid is part of a coordinated response to the emergency in Pipor, with partner, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which are providing emergency food, clean water and tarpaulins and cooking sets. It also assisting wounded people and enhancing the on-going peace reconciliation work started by the Sudan Council of Churches and Archbishop Daniel Deng.
LWF is also working in concert with the UN and other NGOs on the ground – including ACT member Norwegian Church Aid – to meet the critical food, water, shelter and health needs of those displaced by the violence.
The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been displaced by the latest round of armed conflict between two ethnic groups, the Lou Nuer and Murle. Most civilians needing assistance have been living in the bush for approximately two weeks – many without access to life-sustaining necessities.
This latest round of violence in Jonglei erupted last month following a series of cattle raids and child abductions. The longstanding tensions are fuelled by decades of underdevelopment and the proliferation of small arms in the state, the biggest in South Sudan.
The emergency in Jonglei is only the most recent example of several ongoing humanitarian challenges stemming from inter-communal and inter-ethnic conflict in the world’s youngest country, which officially gained statehood in July 2011.