Researchers: Human Toll Of South Sudan War 'As Bad As Iraq or Syria'

October 10, 2018 11:41 AM
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Researchers: Human Toll Of South Sudan War 'As Bad As Iraq or Syria' 1362646
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((INTRO)) [[Close to 400-thousand people have been killed in the civil war in South Sudan, half through violence - making the conflict among the worst the world has seen in recent years, according to a new analysis by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The researchers hope the new analysis, which far surpasses earlier death toll estimates, will reveal the terrible human cost of the war and give a renewed impetus to peace talks and humanitarian funding. Henry Ridgwell reports.]]   ((NARRATOR)) The South Sudan civil war erupted in 2013 as rebels took up arms against the government. A peace agreement signed two years later broke down - and the conflict spread.   Fighting has continued despite another ceasefire deal signed last month.   It has taken a devastating human toll. Researchers say the war has led to nearly 400,000 deaths - with around half of those attributable directly to violence, mostly adult males.   ((FRANCESCO CHECCI, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE)) "I think this places South Sudan more broadly on a par with the likes of Syria and Iraq as opposed to other sub-Saharan African conflicts that we have seen in the past."   ((NARRATOR)) The analysis led by Professor Checci (PRON. KEKKI) was funded by the United States Institute of Peace.    Researchers used census projections to estimate population figures alongside mortality data from household surveys. They also captured data on various predictors of mortality such as conflict intensity, displacement, and food security.    A statistical model was then used to estimate the death toll attributable to the war - covering not only violent deaths, but also those caused by a lack of healthcare, food shortages or disease - the indirect consequences of the conflict.   ((FRANCESCO CHECCI, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE)) "They have actually been shown in many different armed conflicts to be sometimes the majority of deaths attributable to the crisis."   ((NARRATOR)) The researchers say their findings underscore the urgency of resolving the conflict. They also hope the analysis can inform the humanitarian response in South Sudan, one of the largest worldwide. Its total funding requirement in 2018 is $1.7 billion - still only half funded, according to the United Nations.   ((FRANCESCO CHECCI, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE)) "I'm hoping that by putting fairly concrete, objective, hopefully scientifically credible numbers around some crude metric over the level of suffering and impact that these crises have on people, we're actually going to be able to influence that broad global commitment to humanitarian financing."   ((NARRATOR)) Checci now hopes to apply the statistical technique to other African conflicts - starting with Nigeria and the war against Boko Haram Islamist militants.   ((Henry Ridgwell, for VOA News, London.))