By Susan Gately - 12 May, 2014
A peace deal signed at the weekend between South Sudan’s rival political factions has been welcomed by Trócaire, but the agency has warned that five million people in the country still remain in desperate need of aid.
“This peace deal will hopefully end the fighting that has resulted in such needless loss of life in South Sudan,” said Trocaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan. “The conflict effectively cut off regions of the country from humanitarian agencies.”
The charity’s director said that political leaders in South Sudan and the international community now had to ensure that humanitarian aid could reach people who urgently need it.
“Five million people – more than the entire population of Ireland – are in urgent need of aid. The country is facing a severe food shortage and millions of people are going hungry. The benefits of peace must include an end to hunger.”
Mr. Meehan also urged the international community not to forget about the ongoing conflict in the Nuba Mountains, just north of the border of South Sudan, that has been ongoing since 2011.
“The Nuba people are caught in the crossfire of a conflict between the Sudanese military and a rebel group. Trócaire is supporting a hospital in the Nuba Mountains that offers medical care to 150,000 people. This hospital recently came under aerial attack. A deliberate attack on a civilian medical facility represents a gross violation of international law. ”
Fighting erupted in South Sudan last December. This is the second time a peace deal has been signed aimed at halting the hostilities. A similar agreement collapsed just days after it was signed in January.
The conflict has led to a huge number of South Sudanese fleeing their homes – over 1.2 million people. Of these, 300,000 now live as refugees across borders in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.
Trocaire is providing humanitarian aid in the region, including to 500 families living in a camp in Juba and a further 1,600 people in the Yirol East area of the country.