South Sudan 5th independence anniversary: Peace and stability yet to be established

(London) As the world’s youngest nation marks its fifth-year anniversary 9 July 2016, World Vision is urging the transitional South Sudanese government to intensify its reconciliation efforts to hasten the peace process.

* Hi Res pictures available here* World Vision spokespeople available for studio interviews

Despite the ceasefire deal signed nearly a year ago, which provided renewed hopes for South Sudanese, the ongoing fighting continues to force hundreds of people to flee to neighbouring countries each day in search of safety.

World Vision UK spokesperson, Stefanie Glinski, who has recently returned from South Sudan and Uganda said, “One in every five people in South Sudan has been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began in December 2013. In one of the transit centres in Northern Uganda, located just 250 kilometres from Juba (the capital of South Sudan), an average of 180 South Sudanese refugees arrive daily. These families often carry no more than a change of clothes.”

An agreement that saw the fighting parties of President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar, working together under the Transitional Government of National Unity had brought a sense of national optimism, peace and stability. However, uncertainties of lasting peace persist in the countryside with many seeking refuge beyond their borders.

“The ongoing violence through the country is deeply worrying. For those who make it out of the country, the journey is treacherous and harsh. Sixty-five per cent of those fleeing are children under the age of 18. It’s hard to imagine how many of them have managed to walk for days or even weeks barefoot, without much food or water and in constant fear,” Glinski said.

In the past week, heavy fighting in South Sudan’s Wau district has led to the displacement of a further 70,000 people. Prior to the latest round of fighting, the UN said there were an

estimated of 100,000 people displaced in and around Wau. The organisation now expects the number to go up to 150,000.

The ongoing fighting has also fostered worsening conditions that have left an estimated 4.8 million people in dire need of food.

World Vision experts in South Sudan say cite reductions in donor contributions to the UN Humanitarian Response Plan - currently funded at 39 per cent - as a chief cause of the challenges aid agencies are facing. Logistical difficulties have also hampered aid efforts to reach the most affected and vulnerable South Sudanese, especially children.

Jeremiah Young, World Vision South Sudan’s Policy, Advocacy and Peacebuilding Adviser, said, “As a result of funding shortfalls, donors have prioritised lifesaving interventions. This has caused agencies like World Vision to limit activities such as child protection, psychosocial support services, and family reunification programmes that brought together parents and children who were separated while fleeing the fighting. World Vision had hoped to expand on its emergency education programmes which are crucial to improving the short and long-term wellbeing of children in such conditions, but limited funds have hampered these efforts.

“However, the people of South Sudan are remarkably resilient, and World Vision is confident that if provided the necessary support they will be able to build a strong and prosperous country,” said Young.

Ends//

Notes to editors

  • Displacement Figures: Since December 2013, more than 10,000 civilians were killed. More than 2.3 million people are displaced.
  • Children affected by South Sudan Crisis:  According to UNICEF, more than 16,000 children who have recruited by armed groups also need to reintegrate back into their communities. More than one-third of children are denied schooling.
  • Food Crisis Figures: Since the beginning of 2016, more than 100,000 children have been treated for malnutrition. This is a 40% increase compared to the same period last year, and 150% since 2014. - 4.8 million South Sudanese face severe food shortages in the coming months, up from 4.3 million in April. This is the highest level of hunger since the conflict started in South Sudan two-and-a-half-years ago
  • Funding Shortfall: Only 39% of the required emergency funding identified by the UN has been provided by international governments, institutions and others.

Contact: Brenda Yu / Henry Makiwa

Mobile: 07786 333 784 / 07469 154 268

Skype: brendayu_by / Soshangana

Email: Brenda.yu@worldvision.org.uk / Henry.makiwa@worldvision.org.uk

About World Vision

World Vision is the world's largest international children's charity. We want children living in the world’s hardest places to be free from exploitation and abuse, to be flourishing in safe communities.

Our vision is of a world in which every child has the chance to live life to the full; where they are loved, protected and cared for, and enjoys good health and an education.

For this to become a reality, we work alongside communities in close to 100 countries to bring about long-term change; we give children a voice in the places where decisions are made and we respond quickly to the emergencies that affect more than 250 million people around the world each year. As we do this, we focus on three key areas: child protection, child health and emergency response.