CAFOD welcomes the renewed commitment by the South Sudan government and rival political factions to open up humanitarian corridors to provide vital aid for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced because of the conflict between the warring parties.
CAFOD’s Country Representative in South Sudan, Jane Andanje said:
“The rains have already started, and within a month, some of the remote areas affected by this conflict will be inaccessible. We urgently need to get humanitarian aid to the worst hit areas, places like Malakal town, where looting and the destruction of the local market place has left townsfolk unable to get essential supplies.
“The renewed commitment to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement between the two warring parties shows that there is some political will to reach a solution. But ending the conflict through a sustainable, negotiated settlement is the only way to give people the security they need to return to their homes and fields, and begin to rebuild their lives.” As a result of the fighting, thousands have been killed, and an estimated 4.9 million people – more than 40 per cent of the country’s population – are in urgent need of aid. Up to 931,000 people have been forced from their homes, including 222,000 who have fled to neighbouring countries. Many are living in squalid conditions in makeshift camps and are in desperate need of food, shelter, clean water, sanitation and healthcare.
John Ashworth, an adviser to the Sudan and South Sudan churches, recently visited London to speak to UK parliamentarians, Church representatives and aid agencies, saying that the only way forward to end the suffering and journey towards peace is to acknowledge and tackle the root causes of the violence. He said:
“The roots of this conflict lie deep in unresolved issues which have not been addressed: the trauma of decades of violence; the lack of any reconciliation process dealing with earlier conflicts; the slow transition from a military liberation movement to a political party in government; weak democratic institutions; the failure to professionalise and integrate an army loosely made up of different militia, each with their own loyalties; corruption and nepotism; and perhaps most of all the absence of any attempt at building a shared national identity to unify the nation. All of these issues must be addressed not by the politicians and military leaders alone, but by the people.” CAFOD has pledged £200,000 to bolster relief efforts working with our partners, Caritas South Sudan and the Diocese of Malakal to provide immediate assistance - shelter, clean water and sanitation - to those made homeless by the ongoing fighting.
Jane Andanje concluded: “We hope that this latest agreement will mark the end of the violence and the start of a process towards peace and reconciliation. We cannot afford to allow the hope and promise of this new country to turn to despair.”
Nana Anto-Awuakye Head of World News CAFOD Romero House 55 Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7JB Landline: +44 (0)207 095 5456 Blackberry: +44 (0) 7799 477 541 Website: www.cafod.org.uk Twitter: @itsnanatimew