News / Africa

IRC: Critical Time for South Sudan

A group of displaced brothers and sisters cautiously disembark from a boat that has just carried them across the Nile to a village in Awerial, which has received tens of thousands of displaced people who crossed the Nile river by boat to flee the recent f
A group of displaced brothers and sisters cautiously disembark from a boat that has just carried them across the Nile to a village in Awerial, which has received tens of thousands of displaced people who crossed the Nile river by boat to flee the recent f

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The International Rescue Committee said it’s not too late to prevent South Sudan from falling into a prolonged conflict. However, the humanitarian group said it will require a lot of international pressure and greater support for the U.N. presence.
 
IRC Country Director Wendy Taeuber said just two-and-a-half-years-ago, South Sudan was a place of hope. Action is needed now, she says, to preserve the gains made since South Sudan gained its independence. She called it an opportunity despite the many horror stories being reported.
 
That said, Taeuber warned conditions of late have deteriorated.
 
“With the increased fighting, further displacement and the onset of the rainy season, it’s sort of a perfect storm, if you will, of complete calamity on the horizon if we don’t act now. So it’s a very important moment to do as much as we can.”
 
Speaking from the capital Juba, Taeuber said the many years of U.S. support have created a lot of good will in South Sudan and give the Obama administration leverage. She’s encouraged by the scheduled visit by Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
“We’re hoping that he can talk to all sides and encourage them to really push forward on some kind of peace agreement. I mean we don’t want to be naïve in thinking that the fighting will stop over night, but certainly there are things we can ask for – a 30-day period of tranquility. It would be wonderful if parties could at least agree to a ceasefire for the month of May, during which time people would be free to move around, plant, reunite with their families,” she said.
 
Taeuber said Kerry could “lend some renewed energy” to the peace process.
 
“The talks in Ethiopia have not been going very well, but we hope that high level engagement of someone of John Kerry’s level could give a jump start to renewed negotiations and some fresh inputs, ideas.”
 
The IRC country director said one of the biggest problems facing South Sudan is food insecurity.
 
“We do have three-point-seven-million people at immediate risk of extreme hunger. And of course the reports have mentioned that if planting season is missed completely and displacement continues over the coming months, we could see seven million people at risk by the end of the year or early next year as crops may fail and people would have nothing to eat. And of course over time that can develop into extreme starvation,” she said.
 
Now is the time,” she said, to pre-position emergency food stocks and distribute farming tools, seeds and fishing nets.
 
“A lot of people are displaced along the Nile River, which is teaming with fish. So there’s a lot that could still be done in the next month or two before the heavy, heavy rains come,” she said.
 
Taeuber recently described South Sudan as a place where” no one feels safe.”
 
“What’s been especially upsetting about the fighting of the last few weeks is that places people would normally seek refuge in any time of conflict -- anywhere in the world -- you might think of running to a hospital or a church or a mosque – and in this particular conflict a lot of people have sought refuge inside the U.N. bases – all of these have been attacked in the last two weeks you could say,” she said.
 
The International Rescue Committee has not been immune to the violence. Two IRC health workers were shot dead during the recent attack on the U.N. compound in Bor.
 
Besides health care, the IRC is also providing fresh drinking water and sanitation, as well as prevention and response programs for gender-based violence.
 
“Women and girls are at particular risk in any conflict as they may be running their own households if their husbands and brothers have gone off to join the fighting,” said Taeuber.
 
The International Rescue Committee said the May 20th donors’ conference on South Sudan in Oslo could be “critical” to avoiding a catastrophe.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid