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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid