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.
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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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