News ID: 291521
Published: 0229 GMT March 12, 2021

ICRC head calls South Sudan ‘a forgotten conflict’

ICRC head calls South Sudan ‘a forgotten conflict’

The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that South Sudan is “a forgotten conflict” facing a “humanitarian crisis” made worse by the pandemic, while the UN chief cautioned that 60% of people in the world’s newest nation are “increasingly hungry.”

South Sudan has been struggling to recover from five years of war that at least one study says killed almost 400,000 people. A coalition government formed last year between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar is implementing a peace deal behind schedule, while deadly violence continues in parts of the country, AP reported.

The ICRC’s Robert Mardini, who visited South Sudan last week, called it “one of the most complex humanitarian crises anywhere." And he said "now alarmingly we see severe food shortages and a largely unquantifiable prevalence of COVID-19 which are making an already catastrophic situation even worse.”

While hostilities between the main parties may have ceased or been reduced, Mardini said that “fighting with smaller parties and splinter groups and between communities is unfortunately continuing to cause death, destruction and displacement.”

Making the rounds at Akabo County Hospital in eastern Jonglei state, which serves close to 200,000 people, Mardini said he saw several people recovering from gunshot wounds, including children. He said they were victims of intercommunal violence that is endemic in the country and the result of historic rivalries, often over cattle and land but sometimes over political agendas orchestrated from the capital.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday told a UN Security Council meeting on conflict-driven hunger that in South Sudan “chronic sporadic violence, extreme weather and the economic impact of COVID-19 have pushed more than seven million people into acute food insecurity,” the highest level since the country declared independence from Sudan 10 years ago.




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