South Sudan

Statement attributable to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Ms. Lise Grande

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(Juba, 3 January 2012): A high-level humanitarian delegation, led by the Government of South Sudan, arrived in Pibor town today to assess the conditions of civilians affected by recent inter-communal violence in Jonglei State in South Sudan. Retaliatory attacks by the Lou Nuer escalated sharply in late December in Pibor County, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and resulting in destruction to property and livelihoods. The number of people killed remains unconfirmed. Humanitarian operations have also been put at risk by persistent insecurity in the area.

In Pibor, the assessment team touched down just hours after the column of armed Lou Nuer attackers left the area. Initial food assistance to 45 orphaned children in the town began shortly after. “Reaching out to this vulnerable group of children is an important step. But it's only the start. A massive emergency operation is going to be needed in the weeks ahead to help people uprooted by the violence,” said the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan Ms. Lise Grande. “Hundreds of people are returning to the town from the bush. They are highly vulnerable and they need help.”

One of the conflict-affected areas, the village of Likuangole, was entirely razed in an attack on 26 December. Houses have been burnt to the ground and an NGO clinic providing vital medical assistance to local communities was looted and destroyed.

Ms. Grande also expressed serious concern about the situation in nearby Walgak, in Jonglei’s Akobo County. Since 28 December, communities in the area have suffered a string of inter-communal attacks that together have left at least 10 dead, 25 women and children missing and an estimated 8,000 people displaced, according to an assessment by humanitarian partners today.

For further information, contact Cecilia Attefors, Public Information Officer, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in South Sudan (attefors@un.org / +249 912 179084) or Rebecca Worner, Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan (worner@un.org / +249 956 027361).