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.
Even as aid workers are warning that children in South Sudan are falling victim to mass malnutrition, international agencies are said to be missing their fundraising goals to avert a looming famine in the country.
While South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar agreed last week to end the country’s devastating six-month conflict by forming a transitional government within the next two months, it may come too late for this country’s wildlife as conservation officials accuse fighters on both sides of engaging in killing wild animals to feed their forces.
As with many conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies around the world, those who suffer the most are women, young girls and children. The current terrible crisis in South Sudan is no exception.
It has not yet been a week, but South Sudan’s most recent ceasefire appears set to collapse, along with hopes that – after five months of fighting – the country might finally be on the path to recovery.
Twenty-year-old Wani Lo Keji stares at the sky as his herd of cattle drink water from the eastern bank of the Nile River, just opposite South Sudan’s capital, Juba.