South Sudan is currently experiencing the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. Over 2.3 million people are displaced. This number is of course higher, as not every displaced person can be accounted for, especially in the rural regions.
What’s worse is that South Sudan lacks the resources to prevent further displacement. Constant violence, a crippled economy and almost no infrastructure to support those affected by the violence, displacement will continue until the civil war ends.
The Main Causes of War
Ethnic violence is the main cause of conflict, and not one person is immune. South Sudan has long been affected by a complex battle between the tribes of the country.
There are 64 tribes in South Sudan. The largest is the Dinka tribe, which makes up 35% of the population, and most government positions. The current president, Salva Kiir Mayardit is from the Dinka tribe, and the rebel leader Riek Machar is from the Nuer tribe. This has only made tensions worse.
Conflict between tribes is nothing new, however. Most conflict is aggravated among nomadic groups over the issue of cattle and grazing land.
The Atrocities of the War
While the foremost conflict is between government forces and rebel militias, innocent civilians are the main victims. Villages are destroyed and homes are burned. Even aid centres and camps are not safe. In July 2016, a World Food Programme warehouse was ransacked, and food enough to feed over 220,000 people for a month was stolen.
Perhaps the greatest atrocity is the loss of the chance of a prosperous future for this generation of children. Nearly one in every three schools in South Sudan has been destroyed, occupied or closed, impacting on the education of more than 900,000 children, including 350,000 who have been forced out of school by the conflict. More than 686,200 children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 231,300 who are severely malnourished.
Between 15,000 to 16,000 children are estimated to be recruited by armed militias in South Sudan. Over 10,000 children have been registered as unaccompanied, separated or missing. An adolescent girl in South Sudan is three times more likely to die in childbirth than complete primary school. An estimated one million children are in psychosocial distress.
With 40% of the population being under 14 years, this is just absolutely devastating.
While most just want peace, the violence is not expected to end anytime soon. Humanitarian organisations are doing the best they can to relieve the pain and suffering of the South Sudanese people.
IRT supports the Comboni Missionary Sisters in their efforts to provide medical care, counselling, food and education to those who are suffering in the most rural areas. They truly do need our help more than ever.
Please help us support our brave partners in South Sudan by donating today.