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UN Calls for Humanitarian Access in South Sudan

  • VOA News

A top United Nations official is voicing alarm over deteriorating humanitarian conditions in South Sudan, where an estimated 100,000 civilians have been cut off in fighting between two ethnic groups in Jonglei state.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said the recent resurgence of intercommunal fighting is threatening the lives of "ordinary people" and reducing the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide urgent help.

The international medical charity Doctors Without Borders says its surgical teams have in the past week treated scores of wounded people. A statement said its workers were trying to reach thousands more thought to be hiding in malaria-infested swamps in Jonglei.

There are no official estimates of fatalities in the latest fighting. But authorities say at least 1,000 people were killed last year as fighting escalated between the two groups, the Lou Nuer and the Murle.

A VOA reporter on Tuesday said surgical wards at a hospital in the town of Bor were overflowing, with dozens of men and boys awaiting treatment for gunshot wounds.

In the last major flareup 18 months ago, analysts say some 8,000 Lou Nuer and others attacked Murle villages, looting cattle and attacking women and children.