News / Africa

UNMISS, Aid Organizations Welcome South Sudan Ceasefire

Three children walk through a camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba,  Jan. 9, 2014.
Three children walk through a camp for internally displaced persons at the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, Jan. 9, 2014.
TEXT SIZE - +
The head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) joined international aid organizations and groups working with refugees Friday to hail the hours-old ceasefire agreement for South Sudan, voicing hope that it would hold and give the people of the young country "the peace they deserve."

Hilde Johnson, head of UNMISS, which, since the start of the unrest nearly six weeks ago, has provided shelter on its bases and compounds for some 70,000 people who fled fighting in South Sudan, called the ceasefire agreement signed Thursday in Addis Ababa "a first step towards lasting and durable peace in South Sudan."

Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
x
Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
Hilde Johnson, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), holds a video press conference from Juba, South Sudan on Dec. 26, 2013.
She called on the parties to the conflict to "fully and immediately implement the agreement", which was due to come into force Friday, 24 hours after it was signed.

Johnson also called for an "inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict, work towards national reconciliation and build effective state institutions so the people of South Sudan enjoy the peace they so much deserve."

A spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, also welcomed the ceasefire agreement but said it did not spell the end of the crisis in the young country.

Spokesman Adrian Edwards voiced hope that the ceasefire "will be implemented to avert further displacement within and outside of the country," noting that hundreds of South Sudanese continue to flee to neighboring countries every day.

Since fighting broke out in Juba on Dec. 15 and rapidly spread around the country, more than 100,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan, while some 490,000 people are internally displaced in South Sudan, the UNHCR said.

Recent arrivals in neighboring Uganda, which has taken in the largest number of refugees from South Sudan, "are visibly weaker and coming with much less luggage, suggesting they are coming from more distant areas of South Sudan," Edwards told reporters in Geneva.

"We continue to hear reports from inside South Sudan of people readying to cross into Uganda, depending on the situation," he added.

  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda rest and await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda await transportation from a transit center in Koboko, Jan. 6, 2014.

International development organization Oxfam hailed the ceasefire as "a sign of political progress" in the conflict that in nearly six weeks has claimed thousands of lives.

But, warned Oxfam, efforts to support the more than 50,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are "grossly under-resourced, and host communities are being pushed to the breaking point."

"In Northern Uganda’s Arua and Adjumani districts, more than 1,000 South Sudanese refugees—mostly women and children—arrive every day," the organization said.

Aid workers on the ground in Uganda have reported shortages of clean drinking water, health facilities and basic sanitation, Oxfam said.

"These gaps must quickly be filled in order to stem a growing public health risk to both the refugee community and the Ugandan villages that are hosting them," it said in a statement.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said it planned to "seize any window of opportunity to deliver food assistance to areas that have been difficult to reach" in South Sudan.

Humanitarian needs will continue, long after the fighting stops.”
“We hope that the signing of an agreement in Addis will bring fighting to a stop and allow WFP and other humanitarian agencies to provide urgently needed relief to the people affected by this conflict,” said WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi.

“But it is important to note that humanitarian needs will continue, long after the fighting stops.”

The WFP has only been able to assist around a third of the nearly 600,000 people displaced by the conflict in South Sudan.

WFP said in a statement that it fears "the conflict has done so much damage that many people will continue to need food assistance for months – or longer – as they attempt to rebuild their lives."

"Many homes, food markets and small businesses have been destroyed, and many people have lost their annual harvest, leaving them with nothing at a time of year when they struggle to feed their families," it said.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid