News / Africa

UN to Assist Victims of Ethnic Violence in South Sudan

A handout picture released by the UN on January 5, 2012 shows internally displaced persons resting in Pibor, Jonglei state after fleeing the surrounding areas following a wave of bloody ethnic violence.
A handout picture released by the UN on January 5, 2012 shows internally displaced persons resting in Pibor, Jonglei state after fleeing the surrounding areas following a wave of bloody ethnic violence.
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations is launching a massive humanitarian operation in South Sudan's Jonglei state to assist tens of thousands of victims of recent ethnic violence.  Unconfirmed reports say hundreds, if not thousands, of people were killed during an explosion of violence between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes last week.  

A United Nations assessment of Pibor and three other South Sudanese towns affected by last week’s inter-ethnic clashes finds an estimated 50,000 displaced people in urgent need of assistance.  

A spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Elisabeth Byrs, says the needs are significant.  She says all U.N. agencies, including the World Food Program, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.N. Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, are on board and are deploying staff and relief items to the affected area.

“The food distribution has started already.  They will increase and continue in the coming days.  All the U.N. agency clusters, I mean by sector -  the health sector, the water and sanitation sector, food sector, shelter sector - now are finalizing a major, rapid response plan, emergency response plan, to address this situation,” Byers said.  

On Thursday, the World Food Program began distributing food to some 2,000 displaced people, mainly women and children, in Boma in the southeastern part of Pibor County.  WFP says it plans to give food rations to another 7,000 people in Pibor town in the coming days.

Last week, about 6,000 young armed men from the Lou Nuer tribe went on a violent rampage in the remote town of Pibor, home to the rival Murle people.  They embarked on their killing spree vowing to exterminate the Murle, whom they accuse of abducting their women and children and raiding their cattle.

The Lou Nuer attackers have inflicted a great deal of damage and destruction.  They have entirely razed one village, burnt many houses to the ground and looted and destroyed a clinic run by the non-governmental organization Doctors without Borders, leaving the local communities stripped of vital medical care.

A UNICEF spokeswoman, Marixie Mercado, says the impact of these attacks on children is devastating.  She says five injured children have been evacuated to the South Sudanese capital of Juba.  One died shortly after arrival.  She says there are reports of nine children having been abducted and confirmed reports of 45 unaccompanied minors.

“Unaccompanied children are extraordinarily vulnerable to abuse and to abduction.  So, the priority for UNICEF and all partners working in protection is to reunify them as quickly as possible with their families… Tens of thousands of civilians, mainly women and children, are still displaced and seeking cover in the dense bush without food or clean water.  Water, sanitation and hygiene are particularly urgent because many of the water sources… were damaged.  WASH (water supply, sanitation and hygiene) supplies are en route and we have nutrition and emergency education supplies also pre-positioned,” Mercado said.  

The United Nations has appealed for $763 million for humanitarian operations in South Sudan this year.  So far, 8 percent of the appeal has been covered.  U.N. agencies are urging donors to contribute more as soon as possible.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs