News / Europe

ICRC Describes Rapidly Deteriorating Situation in South Sudan

Civilians preparing to flee from renewed attacks gather in front of a sign celebrating the second anniversary of South Sudan's independence in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
Civilians preparing to flee from renewed attacks gather in front of a sign celebrating the second anniversary of South Sudan's independence in Bentiu, Unity state of South Sudan, April 20, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The outgoing head of the Red Cross delegation in South Sudan is expressing surprise at how quickly conditions in the country are deteriorating.  In an interview with VOA, the official warns the humanitarian crisis will become worse as the rainy season takes hold in a couple of weeks.

Melkur Mabec has just left his post as mission chief of the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Sudan, which he assumed in March 2012.  

At that time, he says, no one could have predicted the speed, geographical breadth, and ferocity of the crisis that erupted a little more than four months ago.

"The country is not even three years old, and when I arrived two years ago there was so much hope and joy and hopes for the future,"he said. "And, it has been very, very sad to see these hopes destroyed in the last couple of months. You see the fear among people of a return to the old days of extended conflict and hardship.”  

Mabec says it is hard to predict the future, but the situation does not look optimistic. He says fighting between government and rebel forces will likely subside when the rainy season arrives next month. But the rains will pose other, extremely difficult problems.

He says more than one million people will remain displaced, inside and outside the country, and reaching them with desperately needed aid will be a monumental challenge.

“These people need food. They need shelter. They need clean water and they need to be able to return to their homes at some point to start working the land again and to start producing food ...  The planting season has already been severely disrupted by this crisis."

Mabec says, We are extremely concerned about the nutritional situation in South Sudan now ...  If this continues, it is likely to further deteriorate.”  

The United Nations reports more than 3.7 million people in South Sudan are going hungry.  It warns 50,000 severely malnourished children could die by the end of the year if they do not get immediate treatment. 

Mabec says ICRC mobile surgical teams are deployed in areas affected by fighting and have treated more than 1,200 patients. He says the agency has provided basic needs for almost 200,000 displaced people.

“We continue, of course, working on the issues of compliance with humanitarian law," he said. "This remains one of our main concerns and we keep on a dialogue with both parties to the conflict and remind them of their obligations to abide by these very fundamental principles.”  

The Red Cross message that civilians must not be targeted does not appear to be getting through to the warring parties. The United Nations mission in South Sudan has accused rebels of killing more than 200 civilians last week after seizing the town of Bentiu. A rebel spokesman denied the charge.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid