ADDIS ABABA (January 23, 2014) – The cease-fire announced Thursday in Addis Ababa between South Sudan’s government and opposition could mean that aid agencies can finally access areas where children and families have been suffering due to the conflict.
“Until now, several parts of South Sudan were simply inaccessible,” says Perry Mansfield, Program Director for World Vision in South Sudan. “We know that there are children across the country who need humanitarian assistance. Many have been separated from their families, haven’t had a meal in days, or are injured. They need our help whether it be in protection, food, or health services, but as long as violence continues to break out, we cannot get to them.”
The cease-fire is a first step to ensuring safe passage for aid workers, but several other actions need to be in place before agencies can send their teams to the most volatile areas. World Vision is working closely with the United Nations and other non-governmental organizations to continually assess the situation across the country.
“In any conflict, and South Sudan is no exception, children are always the most vulnerable. World Vision and other agencies are ready to move into the areas where children have been most affected, as soon as it is deemed safe for us to do so. In light of this cease-fire, we hope it will be soon,” Mansfield adds.
World Vision began responding recently in Bentiu and Malakal. Staff members recently provided supplies to families holed up at churches and the U.N. base in Bentiu, the site of a recent skirmish between rebels and government troops. Supplies included:
- Mosquito nets
- Sleeping mats
- Plastic sheets
- Jerry cans
The organization plans also to help families in Warrap, Central, and Western Equitoria states with household supply kits, shelter, access to clean water, and Child-Friendly Spaces.
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World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information, visit www.WorldVision.org/press or on Twitter @WorldVision.