UN: Famine and war threaten again in South Sudan

There is a

threat of famine for about 100,000 people in South Sudan. That is what the United Nations states in a new report. In addition, violence is flaring up on a peace agreement agreed in 2018. The UN warns of a new war.

Some 8.5 million people in the country are victims of a humanitarian crisis, according to UN estimates. This is the result of the poor economy, the coronacrisis and military tensions.

Many Länder in South Sudan are facing regional security problems. In addition, the political situation at national level is also unstable. An important peace agreement was concluded in 2018 and last year the interim government signed a peace treaty with five rebel groups. This seemed to have stability in sight for the country that has been struggling with civil war since 2013.

But the implementation of the peace agreement is slow. This again leads to political tensions between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. The political, ethnic and military divisions in the country are thus flaring up, warns the UN. As a result, another war is threatened in the country that has only existed since 2011.

In addition, the pandemic also aggravates the situation. The country is facing a lack of testing capacity and there is limited availability of vaccines.

Complex situation

The situation in the country is complex, explains Ambassador Jelte van Wieren to NPO Radio 1. “Tensions surrounding the peace agreement remain. But that is at national level,” explains Van Wieren. “This is aggravated by regional conflicts that cross it.”

Van Wieren recently paid a working visit to the state of Warrap, where part of the population has fled from violence between livestock farmers. “Its a very sad sight,” says Van Wieren. “Most of the houses in the countryside are deserted.”

“ In some places displaced persons gather and get help,” continues Van Wieren. But the latter is now degenerating into a problem: there is too little food and water. “They are now mainly waiting for emergency assistance. Because of the insecurity they can no longer herd cattle locally and cultivate the land.”

According to the ambassador, two-thirds of the total population of South Sudan is food uncertain. “In a number of areas, there are already fighting famine.”

The Netherlands is currently providing humanitarian aid through the UN and NGOs. “In addition, we are in bodies that oversee the peace agreement. They maintain pressure on the government and the warring parties to implement the agreement,” explains Van Wieren.