News / Africa

South Sudan Women, Children Hard Hit as Violence Spreads: Aid Agencies

  • Members of the South Sudan rebel delegation attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Taban Deng Gai, left, head of the rebel delegation and South Sudan's leader of the government delegation, Nhial Deng Nhial, attend the opening ceremony of South Sudan's peace negotiations, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • Unidentified members of the delegation from the South Sudan government and western observers meet at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January 4, 2014.
  • A displaced mother and her baby, one of the few to have a mosquito net, wake up at a refugee camp, Awerial, South Sudan, Jan. 2, 2014.
  • A young displaced girl carries a bucket of water back to her makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound. The compound has become home to thousands of people displaced by the recent fighting, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Displaced people gather inside a mosquito net tent as they flee from the fighting between the South Sudanese army and rebels in Bor town, in Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 30, 2013.
  • A displaced woman hangs up laundry on the plastic sheeting wall of a latrine at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Yared, 2, is held by his mother, Madhn, who fled from the town of Bor a few days ago. She receives medicine for her child at a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical tent, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A young displaced boy rests on the wheel arch of a water truck while others fill containers from it, at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Africa, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A family makes tea outside their makeshift shelter at a United Nations compound, Juba, South Sudan, Dec. 31, 2013.
  • A general view of a camp for displaced people set up in a United Nations compound in Bor, South Sudan, Dec. 25, 2013.
  • South Sudan army soldiers hold their weapons as they ride on a truck in Bor, Dec. 25, 2013.
Violence in South Sudan
Andrew Green
United Nations officials and aid agencies warned Tuesday that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is rapidly deteriorating, with women and children the hardest hit.

The U.N. Mission in South Sudan said some 100,000 people have been internally displaced by fighting that broke out nine days ago in Juba and has spread across the country.

The majority of the displaced are women and children, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) country representative Iyorlumun Uhaa said.

“We know that this is disproportionately affecting the lives of children," Uhaa said.

"As the situation continues to evolve, we are very concerned that the lives of many, many more children will be at risk,” he said.

While fighting has died down in Juba, hundreds of children have been separated from their families and are living alone at two U.N. camps in the capital, Uhaa said. 

UNICEF and the World Food Program are trying to provide temporary shelter and emergency food rations to as many of them as possible, he said.

But the bigger concern is the children whom 
Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013. U.N. officials say many children have been separated from their families since fighting broke out on Dec. 16, and are particularly vulnerable.Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013. U.N. officials say many children have been separated from their families since fighting broke out on Dec. 16, and are particularly vulnerable.
x
Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013. U.N. officials say many children have been separated from their families since fighting broke out on Dec. 16, and are particularly vulnerable.
Internally displaced boys stand next to barbed wire inside a United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Juba, Dec. 19, 2013. U.N. officials say many children have been separated from their families since fighting broke out on Dec. 16, and are particularly vulnerable.
humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach, especially in Jonglei state, which has been a flashpoint in the fighting, Uhaa said.

“A lot of children that are in the Bor area, we have no access to them because of the growing insecurity, and we are so concerned about what is happening to them,” he said.

The U.N. estimates at least 17,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Bor.

Women Vulnerable in Overcrowded Camps


Wendy Taueber, the head of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in South Sudan, which has a program to treat victims of gender-based violence, said women are particularly vulnerable in the overcrowded camps that have been set up for people fleeing the violence.

“There’s no safe space for women in the camps," Taueber said.

"There’s not a safe place to even have a conversation, let alone start to look at bigger issues like the extent of sexual violence,” she said.

Taueber and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the fighting is continuing to spread. MSF reported Sunday that it received 24 patients with gunshot wounds after clashes broke out in Upper Nile state, in the northeast of the country. Two of the patients died, MSF said.

A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
x
A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
A displaced woman stirs fortified cereal mix at the U.N. compound where she has sought shelter in Juba, Dec. 23, 2013.
Fighting has been reported in at least half of South Sudan's 10 states over the past nine days, and officials estimate that more than 500 people have been killed, although a precise toll is not available.

President Salva Kiir has blamed the clashes on a failed coup attempt by his former vice president Riek Machar, an accusation that the former deputy has denied.

President, ex-Deputy Open to Talks


Both the president and his former deputy have said they are willing to hold talks to try to end the violence.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said Kiir is ready to hold talks with Machar without conditions.

But the former vice president, who has been in hiding since the fighting broke out, has told different media outlets that he will not enter into a dialogue with Kiir until 11 senior members of the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) party, who were arrested in the days after the fighting started, are released.

“The president has set the dialogue without conditions. Machar is putting conditions for him, but the president says, 'I am accepting dialogues with no conditions.' So dialogue is accepted but has not occurred yet,” Arik said.

Government officials have said they will not release any of the political leaders who have been arrested until security forces complete an investigation.

U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, confirmed after meeting with Kiir in Juba on Monday that the president has agreed to hold talks with Machar, without conditions, to try to resolve the conflict.

Booth also met with the group of 11 political leaders who are being held in Juba, and said they are "secure and well taken care of."

"These individuals communicated to me their desire – and their readiness – to play a constructive role in ending the crisis through peaceful political dialogue and national reconciliation," Booth said.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: charlie from: California
December 24, 2013 12:09 PM
If France feels impels to protect civilians in the Central African Republic, the former French Equatorial Africa, then Britain and Egypt owe the same duty to the southern Sudan as the former colonial powers in Sudan. Cameron should step up to the plate. Britain owes it to the Christian southern Sudanese, converted by the British under the empire. It owes them help in the Sudan, not in London as war refugees.

The women and children always get left behind in the war zone. This is a civil war that shouldn't be allowed to start. Even Russia could send troops, they talk a lot about their Orthodox Christian credentials now. At least they shouldn't criticize anyone who tries to help. This should be about salvaging a new state and getting it on its' feet. Any Good Samaritans this Christmas?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs