Humanitarian Situation in South Sudan “likely to worsen in 2021”:
Catholic Aid Agency
The humanitarian situation of the people of the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, is likely to worsen in 2021, the leadership of the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trocaire, has said.
In a Monday, March 29 report obtained by ACI Africa, officials of the Ireland-based Catholic entity are appealing to well-wishers to contribute to their Lenten Appeal to enable them reach out to the people of God in South Sudan and others in a similar situation, including those in Myanmar and Syria.
“Humanitarian needs in South Sudan are amongst the worst in the world,” Trocaire officials say, and add, “The humanitarian situation looks likely to worsen in 2021 as the country faces three major crises at the same time.”
The crises include “the impact of years of recurring conflict and violence, the impact of climate breakdown on people’s ability to grow food, and now the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Trocaire officials note.
“This year, things are looking particularly bleak with over 8 million people estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. That’s around seven in ten people in the whole country,” they add in the report titled, “South Sudan’s crisis explained: 5 things you need to know.”
The recurrent conflict in South Sudan that has made over four million people to flee their homes “has exacerbated an already very fragile food situation,” the officials of the Catholic agency say about the nine-year-old East-Central African nation.
Despite attaining independence from Sudan in July 2011, a milestone that offered “hope that a new and peaceful chapter could start,” officials of the humanitarian agency bemoan the fact that “the country has remained wracked with violence and hunger.”
“South Sudan is the world’s newest country but also one of the most troubled,” the leadership of Trocaire says in the March 29 report, adding, “Conflict never really disappeared from South Sudan, with disputes over resources and territory continuing to cause tensions and disputes.”
Efforts to implement the September 2018 peace deal “continue with some sporadic success, amid numerous outbreaks of fighting and brutal violence, often against civilians,” the entity’s officials say, and add, “Conflict, poverty and hunger remain the daily reality for people.”
“With so many of South Sudan’s people living below the poverty line – not to mention the worsening impacts of climate change – hunger was already a huge problem. Displacement and violence have made this worse,” they say.
COVID-19 pandemic restrictions “have devastated the already fragile economy,” Trocaire officials further say, and add in reference to the situation of South Sudanese amid the coronavirus, “Many people who live by earning a daily wage were caught unprepared, and the most vulnerable do not have enough to eat. Many do not have clean water to drink – let alone to wash their hands.”
The landlocked East-Central African nation has recorded at least 10,119 COVID-19 infections; 9,594 recoveries from the disease that has claimed 108 human lives.
In the March 29 report by the entity’s Garry Walsh, Trocaire’s leadership refers to the 132,000 batches of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that South Sudan received on March 25 as “a badly needed ray of hope for this troubled country.”
“This year, Trócaire’s Lent campaign will help to support people affected by conflict in countries like South Sudan, Syria and Myanmar. If you are in a position to do so, please consider donating to our appeal. It can change lives and save lives,” Trocaire officials appeal in their March 29 report.
The support from well-wishers is expected to help Trocaire officials to reach out to people in South Sudan with emergency aid including food, water, sanitation facilities as well as humanitarian support to refugees from the country living in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Donations will also facilitate long-term development initiatives toward improving food production in South Sudan and support peace building and reconciliation programs in conflict-affected areas, Trocaire add in the March 29 report.
Established in 1973, Trocaire has a dual mandate of supporting the most vulnerable people in the developing world while also raising awareness of injustice and global poverty in Ireland.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa