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Violence in South Sudan

Concern Worlwide’s team in South Sudan is closely monitoring the humanitarian situation after recent violence in many parts of the country. Our head office is in Juba, where there has been heavy fighting.

Concern Worldwide prepares for a charity distribution of water and high-energy biscuits at Tomping, a UN base that is now housing 16,000 people who have been displaced by violence that erupted in Juba on 15 December. Image: South Sudan, January 2014.

South Sudan and Ethiopia

We have escalated our aid response in South Sudan to cope with the daily influx of 1,000 refugees fleeing conflict into neighbouring Ethiopia. The refugees, who are mainly women and children, are reported to be suffering from high rates of malnutrition and are in need of urgent assistance.

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Widespread violence

Since fighting erupted in mid-December, violence has swept across at least seven of the ten states of South Sudan with alarming speed.

Concern is responding in two locations: Juba in Central Equatoria and Bentiu in Unity State. We are also continuing our programmes in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, which has been largely unaffected by the conflict.

In Juba:

  • Many people have no food or money to buy any. Concern, with the support of WFP, are now leading General Food Distributions in UN House camp (Juba 3). So far, we have distributed over 234 metric tons of food to 13,648 people in UN House camp
  • People were only able to bring with them what they could carry and many of their homes have been looted or burned down. Concern has distributed parcels of essential household items such as: blankets, soap, jerry cans and shelter materials to 2,288 families in UN House Camp 
  • Malnutrition often goes hand-in-hand with conflict, especially among the most vulnerable - children. Concern has so far screened 10,766 children in Tomping and UN House camps for malnutrition. We are also treating children with moderate and severe malnutrition. 
 
In Unity State:
 
There are now 6,514 IDPs in the UN base in Bentiu. Concern is now the lead agency for Water and Sanitation in Unity State, as well as Camp Coordination and Camp Management for Koch, Mayendit and Leer counties also in Unity State. Security outside of the capital Bentiu remains a problem, and so our programmes continue to focus on Bentiu. Once security is restored, we will immediately scale-up support to these currently inaccessible areas.

 

  • When Concern first arrived in Bentiu, they were greeted by scenes of horrific violence. The needs in the camps were desperate: People were only able to access five litres of water per day, which had to cover drinking needs, as well as washing hands, bathing, cleaning clothes and dishes. Concern is now ensuring that IDPs are receiving 17.4 litres of water per person per day, which is above the international minimum standards. At least 30,000 people now have access to safe drinking water, as per SPHERE standards
  • When Concern first arrived, there were only 16 latrines to serve over 8,000 people. They were in such bad condition that hardly anyone was using them. Concern has since constructed 112 latrines, so there is now one latrine for every 39 people. These latrines are also equipped with hand-washing facilities. A total of 86 showers have also been built. 
  • We're also educating children about hygiene and the spread of disease. Concern has led eight demonstrations for household water treatment and recruited 16 hygiene promoters. This work has had a major impact: so far, there have been no cases of cholera or children dying of diarrhoea in the Bentiu camp. 
  • Concern has started a nutrition programme in Bentiu Town since 4 March. So far, 69 children with severe acute malnutrition have been admitted. Because of the high number of cases of moderately malnourished children being recorded, Concern is planning an expansion of its nutrition response.
  • Concern is preparing to lead a shelter and essential items distribution in Panyijiar. So far, for this purpose, 2,000 solar lights have been procured, with a further 8,000 planned

Meet some of the people Concern is helping. 

  • Around 716,100 people are displaced inside South Sudan
  • The highest concentration of displaced people is in Unity State, where 188,100 people are currently displaced
  • 166,900 people have fled into neighbouring countries
  • Uganda is housing the highest number of displaced people. This figure currently stands at 67,000 refugees.

These figures are according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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Fighting hunger

In Juba, people will not leave the camps due to ongoing fears for their safety. Because of this, we are setting up stabilisation feeding centres in two camps in the area to ensure malnourished people get the treatment they need. 

Providing clean water

In Bentiu camp in Unity, our team are focusing on constructing emergency latrines and ensuring people have access to clean, safe water. 

New nation

This crisis is even more tragic in the context of South Sudan’s 2011 independence and its efforts to building a new, more stable nation. Dominic said:

It is time for South Sudan's political leaders to return to the spirit and promises of freedom, peace and prosperity made less than three years ago when the new nation was born. It is time for increased pressure on fighters to put down the guns, allow life-saving assistance to be delivered, and clear the way for families to return home and continue rebuilding their lives, and their country, once again.

Our charity work

We’ve been working in South Sudan since 1994, focusing on health and nutrition, food and emergency response. We also focus on disaster risk reduction. Read more.

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