“Poverty has become part of me,” says 13-year-old Aminata Kabangele from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I have learned to live with the reality that nobody cares for me.”
Dismissing efforts, including those of U.S. President Barack Obama, to sign off on a peace agreement and end the 20-month-long civil war in the world’s newest nation, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir declined to sign, saying he needed more time for consultations.
U.S. President Barack Obama, in a meeting with regional African leaders, threatened new sanctions for the warring factions in South Sudan if a peace deal is not be reached by Aug. 17.
So extreme are gender inequalities in South Sudan that a young girl is three times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to reach the eighth grade – the last grade before high school – according to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world.
For the second year in a row, South Sudan has been designated as the most fragile nation in the world, plagued by intensifying internal conflict that has displaced more than two million of its people.
After peace talks failed earlier this month, the ongoing conflict in South Sudan between government forces and opposition forces that began at the end of 2013 is having a severe impact on the country’s food security and civilian safety.
When the Cold War ended in 1991, there was hope the U.N. Security Council would be able to take decisive action to create a more peaceful world. Early blue helmet successes in Cambodia, Namibia, Mozambique, and El Salvador seemed to vindicate that assessment.
The United Nations is fighting a losing battle against a rash of political and humanitarian crises in 10 of the world’s critical “hot spots.”
In the face of the growing number of crises taking place at the same time worldwide, humanitarian aid organisations – many of which have already reached their financial and logistic limits – are in desperate need of global coordination.
The widespread field operations of the United Nations – primarily in conflict zones in Africa, Asia and the Middle East – continue to be some of the world’s deadliest.
Rambang “Raymond” Tot Deng was 18 and attending his final year of school when fighting erupted in South Sudan’s capital Juba, one year ago. In the ensuing violence, as Raymond’s schoolbooks burned, thousands of South Sudanese were killed, including two of his cousins.
Dressed in a flowered African print kitenge
and a blue head scarf, Sabur Samson, 27, sits pensively at the HIV centre at Maridi Civil Hospital in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria state.
“What is the benefit when children are crying and people are dying due to hunger? There is no need to cry when you have the potential to dig,” sings Juba-based dancehall reggae group, the Jay Family, in their latest single “Stakal Shedit,” which means “Work Hard” in Arabic.
Along the fertile banks of sub-Saharan Africa’s White Nile, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile River, a war veteran’s co-op is planting for a food secure future in South Sudan, a country potentially facing famine.
Another deadline has passed. But instead of bringing about peace, the leaders of South Sudan’s warring parties have allowed the country to continue its slide toward famine.