South Sudan's unhappy birthday

ConflictHungerSouth Sudan

Five years after its independence from the north, South Sudan is a country in crisis.

On the 9th of July, the world’s youngest nation will be five years old – in 2011 South Sudan declared independence from the North.

Sadly there isn’t much to celebrate in South Sudan. The independence from the north that they longed for has only brought more instability and insecurity. Civil war broke out in December 2013 and has been tearing the country apart.

‘People desperate to save their children from starvation have resorted to stealing.’

Rev. Felix Zara, Tearfund partner in South Sudan.

In spite of a peace deal having been signed between the warring factions last year, the foundations for peace remain shaky. The economy is collapsing, with inflation at 300%. 2.3 million people have been displaced by the ongoing violence. Horrific human rights atrocities are an almost daily occurrence.

FOOD CRISIS

According to a recent IPC report, a staggering 4.8 million South Sudanese, half of the population, will face life-threatening food shortages in July and August. Even areas of the country that were previously relatively self-sufficient are now facing a desperate food shortage.

Tearfund has been working in South Sudan throughout the civil war providing life-saving emergency food and nutrition support. In January 2016 alone there were double the  number of malnourished children being brought to Tearfund feeding centres for support compared to the same period last year.

Displaced women carrying grain
Displaced persons camp
Displaced south Sudanese community
South Sudan's displaced communities are struggling to afford the most basic food staples.

Rev. Felix Zara one of Tearfund’s partners in South Sudan says his community are finding it very difficult to access food due to the rising costs of staples, ‘For example, a kilo of sugar was 8 South Sudanese Pounds and now it’s 60 SSP. People desperate to save their children from starvation have resorted to stealing.’

STANDING STRONG

Despite all of its current troubles, the South Sudanese remain a resilient people. They fight to survive, driven by the hope that, one day, the freedom and prosperity they were promised with independence will become reality.  

This is a critical moment in South Sudan’s history. It may not make the headlines, but right now, the world’s newest nation urgently needs your prayers and support if it’s going to realise a hopeful future.

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