The recent violent confrontations between armed groups in the Administrative Area of Gran Pibor have caused the displacement of some 30,000 people, reported Thursday the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
A group of armed youth from Jonglei State attacked several communities in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area, in the northeast of the country, last Saturday. The violence ended with the theft of cattle, the destruction of property and the displacement of thousands of people.
After fleeing the conflict zones of Gumuruk and Lekuangole, some 5,000 internally displaced persons, including women and children, managed to reach the town of Pibor.
“People have suffered enough already. Civilians – especially the most vulnerable: women, children, the elderly and the disabled – bear the brunt of this protracted crisis,” said South Sudan humanitarian coordinator Sara Beysolow Nyanti.
The recent outbreak of violence comes after another massive displacement of civilians sparked by clashes in mid-November 2022 in Fashoda county, Upper Nile state.
The escalation affects the distribution of humanitarian aid
In the midst of hostilities, humanitarian agencies continue to help those affected by the violence.
During a reconnaissance mission of humanitarian operations in Malakal, in Upper Nile state, the representative of UNICEF in the country, Hamida R. Lasseko, expressed his serious concern about the current events, and indicated that the escalation of violence had a negative effect on the already saturated relief efforts.
“This puts additional pressure on the response and humanitarian resources. We are forced to prioritize the immediate needs of the newly displaced population,” added Lasseko.
9.5 million South Sudanese will require humanitarian aid in 2023
The people of South Sudan continue to suffer the effects of years of social and political instability, food insecurity and climatic disasters such as floods.
The current conflict, which includes violent acts on a subnational scale, affected thousands of people this year, causing multiple displacements and the loss of lives and livelihoods.
“The violence must stop,” said Nyanti. The coordinator called for respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers.
“Impunity is one of the causes that perpetuate the conflict and insecurity. There must be accountability,” he stressed.
OCHA calculates that during 2023 about 9.5 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protectionand estimates that 2.8 million will experience physical violence, including rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Long-term displacement affects more than 2.2 million people who cannot return to their homes. “I am deeply concerned about the continuing deterioration of the population’s physical and mental well-being, their standard of living and their coping mechanisms,” Nyanti said. “Peace is the prerequisite for people to be able to rebuild their lives,” she added.
As of December 28, the coverage of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022 reached 67.4%. South Sudan remains the most violent environment for aid workers, followed by Afghanistan and Syria. Since the beginning of 2022, nine aid workers have been killed in the line of duty in the African country.