Tag Archives: South Sudan war

South Sudan famine – Kiir promises access to civilians as famine bites

Star (Kenya)

Kiir promises safe access to civilians as South Sudan famine bites

Feb. 21, 2017, 3:00 pm

Women carry sacks of food in Nimini village, Unity State, northern South Sudan, February 8, 2017. /REUTERS
Women carry sacks of food in Nimini village, Unity State, northern South Sudan, February 8, 2017. /REUTERS

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Tuesday promised aid agencies safe access to hunger-stricken civilians, a day after his government declared a famine in parts of the war-ravaged country.

South Sudan has been mired in civil war since 2013 and the United Nations said on Monday it was unable to reach some of the worst hit areas because of the insecurity.

“The government will ensure all the humanitarian and developmental organisations have unimpeded access to the needy population across the country,” Kiir said in a speech to parliament.

Nearly half of South Sudan’s 11 million people will lack reliable access to affordable food by July, the government predicts, because of the fighting, drought and hyperinflation.

South Sudan has been hit by the same east African drought that has pushed Somalia back to the brink of famine, six years after 260,000 people starved to death in 2011.

The UN children’s agency, Unicef, on Tuesday said nearly 1.4 million children were at “imminent” risk of death in famines in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria.

South Sudan is rich in oil resources. But, six years after independence from neighbouring Sudan, there are only 200 km (120 miles) of paved roads in a nation the size of Texas. In the fighting, food warehouses have been looted and aid workers killed.

The conflict has increasingly split the country along ethnic lines, leading the United Nations to warn of a potential genocide.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it had set up an emergency intervention in northern Mayendit county to help malnourished children. One in four children in Mayendit had acute malnutrition, MSF said.

“Providing healthcare is a major challenge in such a dangerous context: people are constantly moving to seek safety,” MSF said on Twitter.

South Sudan – famine declared in Unity State

Sudan Tribune

February 20, 2017 (JUBA) – War and a collapsing economy have left some 100,000 people starving in parts of South Sudan, government and three United Nations agencies said Monday.

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IDPs wait to receive food rations and other items from the WFP at a distribution point in Pibor town, Jonglei 21 March 2009 – (photo UN)

An additional one million people in the war-torn nation, the United Nations agencies projected, could be on the brink of famine.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger.

“If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated,” partly reads a joint statement the agencies issued on Monday.

The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released today by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people, over 40% of South Sudan’s population, are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to everyone facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged. Further spread of famine can only be prevented if humanitarian assistance is scaled up and reaches the most vulnerable.

Famine, the agencies said, is currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country. A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted over three years ago.

“Famine has become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan and our worst fears have been realised. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan, Serge Tissot.

“The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch,” he added.

Malnutrition is a major public health emergency, exacerbated by the widespread fighting, displacement, poor access to health services and low coverage of sanitation facilities.

The IPC report estimates that 14 of the 23 assessed counties have global acute malnutrition at or above the emergency threshold of 15%, with some areas as high as 42%.

“More than one million children are currently estimated to be acutely malnourished across South Sudan; over a quarter of a million children are already severely malnourished. If we do not reach these children with urgent aid many of them will die,” said Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.

“We urge all parties to allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to the affected populations, so we can assist the most vulnerable and prevent yet another humanitarian catastrophe,” he added.

U.N agencies and other partners have conducted massive relief operations since the conflict began, and intensified those efforts throughout 2016 to mitigate the worst effects of the humanitarian crisis. In Northern Bahr El Ghazal state, among others, the IPC assessment team found that humanitarian relief had lessened the risk of famine there.

In 2016, WFP said it reached a record 4 million people in war-ravaged South Sudan with food assistance, including cash assistance amounting to US$13.8 million, and more than 265,000 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies. This is reportedly the highest largest number of people assisted by WFP in South Sudan since independence from neighbouring Sudan in July 2011.

(ST)

South Sudan – famine declared in Unity State as economic crisis and war hit food availability

BBC

Women who have fled fighting in South Sudan queue for food aid, 19 October 2016AP Queuing for food aid – civil war and economic collapse are being blamed

A famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan, the first to be announced in any part of the world in six years.

The government and the United Nations report that some 100,000 people are facing starvation, with a million more on the brink of famine.

A combination of civil war and an economic collapse have been blamed.

There have been warnings of famine in Yemen, Somalia and north-eastern Nigeria, but South Sudan is the first to declare one.

The famine is currently affecting parts of the Unity state in South Sudan, but humanitarian groups have warned that the crisis could spread if urgent help is not received.

Aid agencies, including the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the children’s fund Unicef, said that 4.9 million people – more than 40% of South Sudan’s population – are in urgent need of food.


When is a famine declared?

Food shortages can lead to large numbers of people lacking nutrition, but only rarely do they amount to famine, according to UN humanitarian criteria.

Long periods of drought and other problems reducing the supply of food do not necessarily result in a famine.

A famine is declared only when certain measures of mortality, malnutrition and hunger are met. They are:

  • at least 20% of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope
  • acute malnutrition rates exceed 30%
  • the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons

The declaration of a famine carries no binding obligations on the UN or member states, but serves to focus global attention on the problem.

Source: UN


The report on Monday said that an increase in humanitarian assistance was needed in order to prevent the famine from spreading to other vulnerable areas.

“If sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated,” the report said.

Head of the WFP in South Sudan, Joyce Luma, said that the famine was “man-made” after three years of conflict across the country stifled crop production and hit farmers and rural livelihoods.

The impact of the conflict, combined with high food prices, economic disruption and low agricultural production has resulted in the area becoming “food insecure”, the report added.

It is not the first time South Sudan has experienced such a crisis. During the war for independence from Sudan, the territory suffered from a famine in 1998.

Unity state, South Sudan

Last week, the WFP warned that more than 20 million people may face starvation in a series of famines over the next six months.

The WFP’s chief economist, Arif Husain, said a combination of wars and drought meant that for the first time in recent years, aid workers were now talking about four simultaneous famines in separate parts of the world.

He added that despite record levels of international humanitarian aid distribution, there was not enough to look after all the people in need.dehydration

South Sudan: ministers resigns from government and joins rebels

Reuters

By Katharine Houreld and Denis Dumo | NAIROBI/JUBA

A South Sudanese minister has defected to the rebels, the second high-level resignation this week from the government side locked in a civil war which has displaced more than 3 million people.

Lieutenant General Gabriel Duop Lam, the minister of Labour, sent a one-page letter saying he would join the rebellion of former vice president Riek Machar.

“I reaffirm my full allegiance and commitment to the … wise leadership of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar,” he wrote in the letter seen by Reuters on Friday.

Oil-rich South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was plunged into civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired Machar, his deputy and an ethnic Nuer.

The fighting that followed has increasingly followed ethnic lines, and in December the United nations warned that it was setting the stage for genocide.

Government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth, speaking at a news conference in Juba on Friday, confirmed Lam’s defection, the second resignation of a senior figure in a matter of days.

Lieutenant General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the well-respected deputy head of logistics, resigned from the military six days ago but did not say he was joining the rebels.

He cited massive human rights abuses by the military and rampant ethnic favouritism, charging that Kiir was filling key posts in the security forces with Dinka from his home area.

Many human rights groups have reported that the military has looted, raped and killed civilians.

Days after Swaka resigned, the government released a statement saying he had been implicated in a corruption investigation and had fled to avoid justice.

(Reporting by Katharine Houreld and Denis Dumo; editing by Dominic Evans)

South Sudan deploys troops to oil area to,prepare for resumption of production

Sudan Tribune

February 16, 2017 (JUBA) – South Sudan has deployed more troops in preparation for the resumption oil production in areas where activities were halted as a result of the December 2013 outbreak of conflict, which badly affected production in Unity state and parts of the Upper Nile region.


A worker walks through an oil production facility in Paloch in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, on 5 May 2013 (Photo: Hannah Mcneish/AFP)

The head of Nilepet, the country’s national oil company, disclosed Thursday that government hopes production resumes after preparations are fully completed.
“The government is doing the best to ensure that there is adequate protection at the sites where oil production would resume soon in unity. Preparations are underway,” said Machar Ader Achiek.
“The security forces are on the ground to provide adequate security and to ensure the safety of the oil workers and operators”, he added.
Local authorities, Achiek said, have started sensitising communities around the area to embrace peaceful dialogue and to help government at their level to bolster security at oil installations at Tharjiath field and other sites.
“Oil is a national resource and it is when it is extracted that the government can now be able to provide services to the people. If extraction is affected, the delivery of the basic services is also affected. So the resumption of the oil production is in the interest of both the government and the communities from where it is extracted,” explained Achiek.
He added, “This is why protection of oil sites requires cooperation from the communities”.
The Sudanese government, according to the head of the state-owned oil entity, agreed to provide electricity from Heglig and to work collaboratively with the south Sudanese authorities to protect oil workers engaged in production.
Northern Liech state information minister, Lam Tungwar said the state government will do its best to help the national government provide protection to workers in the oil fields as requested by the minister of petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, when he visited the newly-created state last month.
Since its independence, South Sudan has relied on oil for all income—a situation that has significantly compounded ongoing political and economic instability due to fall in crude oil prices.
According to South Sudanese officials, production in the past reached as high as 350,000 bpd but fell after a dispute with Sudan over fees for pumping South Sudan’s crude through Sudan’s export pipeline, which led Juba to halt production in 2012.
South Sudan got the lion’s share of the oil when it split from Sudan in 2011, but it’s only export route is through Sudan, giving Khartoum leverage and leading to the ongoing pricing disputes.

Uganda rules out military intervention in South Sudan

Reuters

 
By Ed Cropley | KAMPALA

Imposing an external “trusteeship” government on South Sudan to try to end a three-year ethnic civil war and potential genocide in the world’s youngest nation would only make its security situation worse, Uganda said on Thursday.

Patience towards President Salva Kiir’s government in Juba has worn thin as the refugee numbers have grown, fuelling talk in international policy circles – including the opinion pages of the New York Times – that “trusteeship” is a viable solution.

However, Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem rejected the notion, saying such interference would be opposed even by Kiir’s sworn enemy, Riek Machar, currently under house arrest in South Africa.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Oryem, the principal foreign policy voice in Uganda, one of South Sudan’s most powerful neighbours.

“That’s a colonial mentality. If an attempt was made to have trusteeship in South Sudan, then I think even the Machar side would resist it and fight it,” he told Reuters in an interview. “That’s an idea that should not be mooted.”

South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but tensions between its many different ethnic groups quickly surfaced and civil war broke out in 2013 between Kiir’s largely Dinka security forces and units loyal to Machar, a Nuer.

An internationally brokered peace deal restored some calm, although that broke down in July last year with heavy fighting between the rival forces in Juba, after which an injured Machar managed to flee to neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda sent in troops when hostilities first broke out in 2013, a move that Kampala says prevented ethnic slaughter on a similar scale to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

However, criticism of its action and suggestions it had ulterior motives meant Uganda was not prepared to re-commit any troops, even under the aegis of a Regional Protection Force mooted last year by the African Union, Oryem said.

“We were misunderstood by the international community and all hell broke out – we were being accused of everything under the sun and being told to leave,” he said.

“We’ve told them we are not going to go back,” he added. “Uganda has no more interest in sending its troops and boys to South Sudan.”

Separately, army spokesman Richard Karemire said the overall security situation in South Sudan had improved since Machar’s flight from Juba. He also voiced support for the removal of Machar, once Kiir’s deputy, from circulation by South Africa late last year.

“Would South Sudan sleep in the absence of Riek Machar?” Karemire said. “Every time there is a problem, he is in the middle of it. This is something we’ve got to ask ourselves.”

(Additional reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

South Sudan – government rejects additional 4,000 UN troops

Al Jazeera


More than 12,000 UN peacekeeping mission troops have been in South Sudan since it gained independence in 2011 [File: EPA]

South Sudan has announced it will no longer accept the deployment of an additional 4,000 United Nations peacekeepers, saying the security situation in the county has improved.

The regional protection force, authorised by the UN Security Council in August after renewed fighting in the capital, Juba, is meant to strengthen the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan

UN dismisses South Sudan peacekeeping force chief

“The government of South Sudan has the ability to provide security and stability for the country and for its citizens without the deployment of a … protection force,” South Sudan’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mawien Makol Ariik said on Wednesday.

The government’s move is a reversal of its earlier decision in November to accept the troops’ deployment.

Defence Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk also said there was no need for the regional protection forces to be deployed in South Sudan.

“Most of the people abroad still believe that there is fighting in Juba and around the country … but Juba is now secure,” Juuk told DPA news agency.


READ MORE: South Sudan accepts 4,000 more UN peacekeepers


Juuk’s remarks contradict reports of recent fighting in the north and south of the country.

The South Sudanese government had warned in August 2016 that the deployment of more UN forces would marginalise its sovereignty, but later gave its consent amid the threat of an arms embargo.

In December, a UN human rights commission urged a rapid deployment of the additional peacekeepers amid reports of ethnic killings.

A political split between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former deputy Riek Machar escalated into a military conflict in December 2013. Tens of thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced.

A unity government was formed in April, but fighting broke out again in July, sending Machar into exile.

The UN’s top human rights official has previously blamed South Sudanese government troops and rebels loyal to the president of ethnically targeted violations, including extrajudicial executions and sexual violence incidences in August 2015.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has previously faced criticism for failing to fully protect civilians facing violence.

In early November, Ban Ki-moon, the former UN secretary-general, dismissedthe commander of the UNMISS force following a damning report that accused the peacekeepers of failing to protect civilians during the outbreak of violence in July.

The report from a UN special investigation found that a lack of leadership in the UNMISS ended in a “chaotic and ineffective response” during the heavy fighting in the capital, Juba, from July 8 to 11 that killed dozens of people.