South Sudan: Clashes lead to crisis of need

Ethnic clashes in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has resulted in nearly 60 deaths and thousands of displaced families in need of food and shelter. The government has declared the area a disaster zone.

By Kathryn Reid with reporting by James Addis. Photo by Joyce Mulama.
Published January 19, 2012 at 12:00am PST

Fifty-seven people have been killed and nearly as many wounded in the latest retaliatory attack in a long-running ethnic clash in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, a government spokesman says.  

The government of South Sudan has declared the remote area a disaster zone and appealed for international aid.

Thousands displaced and in need of food and shelter

Since late December 2011, thousands from the Murle ethnic group have fled from their homes in advance of raids by 6,000 to 8,000 Lou Nuer youth. 

The U.N. says some 120,000 people were displaced. Many are struggling back to destroyed villages, in need of food, shelter, and medical assistance.  

The Lou Nuer and Murle peoples, rivals for grazing lands and water sources, have a history of cattle raids and abduction of women and children. They also have easy access to small arms left over from decades of civil war.  

South Sudan, newly independent in July 2011, has yet to establish order in the remote, poverty-stricken region.

World Vision responds

In response, World Vision will likely contribute blankets and cooking utensils for the displaced as part of an international aid effort.

Stuart Katwikirize, director of World Vision humanitarian affairs in East Africa, says the organization is also ready to deliver further assistance based on the results of assessments due to take place in the coming days.

World Vision already has emergency supplies prepositioned in Juba, South Sudan, and Arua, Northern Uganda, that can be utilized to respond to the crisis.

All supplies will need to be airlifted to Jonglei because of the remote location and continuing insecurity in the area.

World Vision, which operates in Jonglei state, but not within the area affected by the conflict, is coordinating with U.N. groups and other nongovernmental organizations.

How you can help

Pray for the people in South Sudan’s Jonglei state. Pray for protection for children and families and that the displaced would find food and shelter.

Donate to assist children and families in Sudan and South Sudan. World Vision is working hard to bring critical care to innocent victims, but we need your help to continue this important work.