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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs