(Juba, South Sudan) - Heavy gunfire and fighting is rocking the capital, Juba, following a flare up in violence that coincided with world's newest nation marking its fifth year of independence. More than 200 people have reportedly been killed in the fighting.
The escalation of violence has forced World Vision South Sudan to review operations in Juba, although in the rest of the country relief response work continues.
"World Vision is deeply concerned by the escalating violence in and around Juba. The situation deteriorated over the weekend and we are worried that it will continue to worsen. The citizens of Juba and those living in protection sites for the displaced across the country are extremely concerned for their safety. We urge all parties to urgently do all they can to calm the situation and prioritize the protection of civilians.
We are especially concerned for the wellbeing of children who as we know are especially vulnerable, physically and emotionally to conflict and insecurity."
World Vision is currently working in South Sudan with hundreds of thousands of displaced people across the country, which includes the tens of thousands of individuals currently seeking shelter in the Juba People of Concern site. Years of conflict have had a devastating impact on children who have suffered disproportionally from hunger, malnutrition, poverty, loss of shelter, and a loss of education. In addition to the physical affects of conflict, children have been emotionally harmed by what they have experienced and witnessed.
Mr Young said, "It is World Vision's belief that despite this challenging time, South Sudan has a bright and abundant future, and if given the chance to experience peace and stability, the people of South Sudan will actively contribute to building a healthy and prosperous nation for their children, families, and communities. World Vision will to do what it can to work with its partners such as WFP in providing relief to those in need."
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