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 Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

At Boston Bombing Hearing, Sides Spar Over Boat

At final pre-trial hearing, lawyers for suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors disagree on whether vessel where he hid from police can be shown to jurors More

Iran Judiciary 'Picks' Lawyer for Detained WP Reporter

Masoud Shafii has been attempting to secure official recognition as Rezaian’s attorney, but is not allowed to see his client in prison 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More