Tag Archives: Jonglei

South Sudan’s Jonglei State Suffering from Conflict, Flooding

file photo of members of the Lou Nuer gather under the shade of a tree in Ethiopia after fleeing from South Sudan’s Jonglei state. (Credits: UNHCR/S.Tessema)

Jonglei, the largest state in South Sudan, has been hard hit by recent flooding with over 201,000 people impacted. The flooding has resulted in destruction of homes and farmland in Jonglei and other areas of South Sudan. Loss of farmland is devastating in a region that has long suffered from severe hunger and malnutrition.

Access to the flooded areas remains a significant challenge according to a United Nations report. Roads are poor in the area making it more difficult to move supplies.

Jonglei is not only suffering from floods but also continuing fighting between South Sudan’s army and a rebel group in Pibor County’s Likuangole town. The UN reports that fighting is also taking place in nearby Gumuruk town. In Pibor town people are fleeing as they anticipate the violence spreading.

The UN also reports that humanitarian aid groups are not able to access those in need in Likuangole and Gumuruk because of insecurity. Around 90,000 people cannot receive medical care.

South Sudan has been plagued by internal violence, particularly in Jonglei as rival tribes have continually launched attacks against each other. The government launched a disarmament program earlier this year to try and quell the violence.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan says its “particularly concerned by the apparent emergence in Jonglei of an armed insurgency group linked to the militia leader David Yau Yau, which is believed to be acting in concert with groups of armed youths who have evaded the civilian disarmament operation in the state.”

Leave a comment

Filed under global hunger

Flooding, Conflict Victims Need Aid in Jonglei, South Sudan

file photo of members of the Lou Nuer gather under the shade of a tree in Ethiopia after fleeing from South Sudan’s Jonglei state. (Credits: UNHCR/S.Tessema)

The United Nations reports that heavy rains and flooding have affected 125,000 people in Jonglei, the largest state in South Sudan. The flood victims are in desperate need of food, medicine and other aid but roads are impassable preventing the delivery of supplies. The UN says it will use a helicopter to access the hardest-to-reach areas.

Meanwhile, 4500 people have been displaced from Likuangole town after fighting between South Sudan’s army and a rebel group. Aid groups have yet to reach the victims according to the latest report from the UN.

In the past year Jonglei has suffered through natural disasters of flooding and drought in addition to conflict among rival tribes. Major fighting has take place between the Lou Neur and Murle tribes. The government launched a disarmament campaign earlier this year but the latest fighting shows this initiative is a long way from completion.

The recent disasters will escalate the hunger crisis in the already devastated country. The UN World Food Programme has estimated that at least 4.7 million could suffer from hunger in South Sudan this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under global hunger

South Sudan Faces Hunger Emergency

South Sudan is facing a major hunger emergency as drought has ruined food supplies. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says nearly 5 million people “could suffer from food insecurity in 2012, with an estimated 1 million people severely food-insecure.”

Ahnna Gudmunds, a WFP Sudan officer, says, “Households will face significant difficulty obtaining food during this period. Volatile food supply and poor diets are likely to intensify the severity of the hunger season.”

It gets worse. Conflict in the Jonglei State, the largest in South Sudan, has caused suffering, displacement and even more hunger. Fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes has escalated in recent months. The two sides have a history of violence. One side kidnaps members of the other or steals cattle, the other side then responds with an attack and the cycle of violence continues.

WFP is feeding about 170,800 people displaced by this conflict. This emergency food aid must be followed by longer term development aid.

Gudmunds explains that Jonglei is “one of the most underdeveloped states with a very poor, and sometimes non-existing, infrastructure. Some of the counties may be accessible by road only for few months a year due to rains.”

WFP is rushing to make sure supplies are in place ahead of these expected rains in April. The international community needs to ensure WFP has enough funding to carry on the relief work. South Sudan, which gained its independence last year, is reeling from war and drought.

There is also no shortage of weapons making the conflict between the Lou Neur and Murle that much more dangerous. Both tribes were armed during the decades long Civil War between the South and North Sudan. That war ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

A report from the Small Arms Survey says, “Despite post-CPA disarmament drives, both groups have remained armed and active. Their ongoing feud is highly suggestive of civil war-era dynamics, exacerbated by post-CPA jockeying for services, power, and influence.”

The government of South Sudan is currently undertaking a campaign to disarm civilians in Jonglei. Most everyone would agree that disarmament is needed. But the question is when this disarmament should take place.

The Enough project warns that the time for disarmament is not right and will undermine the peace process. There needs to be confidence-building, dialogue and humanitarian aid well in process before traveling the disarmament path.

Amanda Hsiao, Enough Project South Sudan field researcher, says, “Without the capacity to simultaneously disarm rival communities, to ensure the security of disarmed communities, and to stop the flow of arms back into the hands of civilians, forcible disarmament at this moment will undermine, rather than facilitate, the government’s efforts toward peace-building in Jonglei.”

Jennifer Christian, Enough Project Sudan policy analyst, adds, “What the people of Jonglei require right now is humanitarian assistance, security, and the establishment of a mechanism through which they may peacefully resolve their grievances with other communities.”

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is focusing a great extent of its peacebuilding in South Sudan on development. For CRS only hope will light the road to peace in Sudan. Peace and development are clearly linked.

Sara Fajardo, a CRS officer says, “Decades of violent conflict have left their mark. We need to provide alternatives to violence by investing in ‘peace dividends’ such as building roads, digging borehole wells, helping to strengthen the health care system, and providing seeds and tools for agriculture to name a few. These are all crucial components in giving people a reason to hope and build a future. ”

CRS is working on these projects in South Sudan as well as reinforcing relief efforts for the displaced. However, funding for these projects is key. CRS, for instance, faced low funding for its school feeding programs in Bor County, Jonglei. These programs came to an end last year.

Also crucial will be ensuring the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has enough resources to help protect civilians. Hilde Johnson, director of the mission, says, “UNMISS has reinforced its presence in key areas of Jonglei State and is conducting continuous air patrols to deter violence.”

It was such air patrols that detected and sounded the alarm of a large force of the Lou Neur readying to attack the Murle in December.

Dialogue, development and disarmament need to take place in South Sudan. Until they do hunger and misery will continue in this impoverished nation. Right now, South Sudan is trapped in a major food crisis, with the future of millions of people hanging in the balance.

Article first published as South Sudan Faces Hunger Emergency on Blogcritics.

Leave a comment

Filed under global hunger