Wau/Cologne: The fifth anniversary of the independence of South Sudan witnessed a return to armed conflict in the country, which has been plagued by violence since its creation. Shooting was reported in the capital Juba during the night before the country’s independence day. Unrest had already been reported around two weeks ago in the northwestern city of Wau, where an estimated 90,000 people are thought to be in flight. Most of these people have already been forced from their homes more than once. Around 40,000 displaced people are living in camps in the city of Wau, and a further 40-50,0000 live dispersed amongst the surrounding villages. Malteser International is working to provide these internally displaced people with essential aid.
“We have seen repeated outbreaks of violence in various regions of the country. Two weeks ago, we were forced to move our operations in Wau to the UN compound in the city in order to ensure the safety of our staff,” said Dr. Justin Sauter, Malteser International’s Emergency Relief Coordinator in South Sudan. As well as seeking to provide emergency relief, Malteser International will establish new boreholes to provide the displaced people in Wau with secure access to clean drinking water.
More than 2.5 million people are thought to have been forced to leave their homes in South Sudan and live as refugees or internally-displaced people because of the violence in the country. There have been repeated outbreaks of fighting despite a ceasefire negotiated in August 2015. “We can only appeal urgently to all of the conflict parties to bring an immediate end to the violence. Until there is peace, the millions of people displaced by the conflict will remain effectively without a future,” said Roland Hansen, Head of Malteser International’s Africa Department. “This young state, which was created out of civil war, requires intensive support from the international community in the process of nation building, and to help establish peace between its various ethnic communities.”
Malteser International has been working in South Sudan since 1996. Our current projects in the country include the distribution of vital aid to people in the capital Juba, improving food security for people living in and around Wau and Maridi; as well training healthcare workers and supporting leprosy patients near Rumbek.
For editors: Roland Hansen, Head of Malteser International’s Africa Department is available for interviews.
Contact: Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 155, katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org
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