What should have been a moment to celebrate in the short history of South Sudan, has instead been marked with death and violence on the day of the country’s fifth anniversary of independence.
World Vision is deeply concerned by the escalating fighting in and around Juba that has been a daily occurrence since Thursday 6 July.
Media are reporting significant casualties. The UN reported its compound has come under fire, and the arrival of around 1,000 people at the UN Protection of Civilian site.
Jeremiah Young, World Vision South Sudan’s Policy, Advocacy, and Peacebuilding Advisor, said: “The situation has deteriorated over the weekend and we are worried that it will continue to worsen. The citizens of Juba and those living in protection sites for the displaced across the country are extremely concerned for their safety. We urge all parties to urgently do all they can to calm the situation and prioritize the protection of civilians.”
World Vision is especially concerned for the wellbeing of children who are extremely vulnerable, physically and emotionally, to conflict and insecurity.
Since 2013 the conflict in South Sudan has displaced more than 2.3 million people. More than half are estimated to be children. The renewed fighting in the capital caused many more people to flee their homes and seek shelter and the UN base in Juba.
World Vision is currently working in South Sudan with hundreds of thousands of displaced people across the country, which includes the tens of thousands of individuals currently seeking shelter in the Juba Protection of Civilian site.
“We have seen first hand the effects conflict has on children – who suffer disproportionately from the hunger, malnutrition, poverty, loss of shelter, and education that conflict causes. In addition to the physical effects of conflict, children are emotionally harmed by what they experience and witness,” Young said.
Despite the challenging time, World Vision believes South Sudan has a bright future, and if given the chance to experience peace and stability, the people of South Sudan will actively contribute to building a healthy and prosperous nation for their children, families, and communities.
“We again urge all individuals, local and abroad, to do all they can to calm the situation, so that the children of South Sudan can experience life in all of its fullness.
“World Vision will to do what it can to work with its partners such as WFP in providing relief to those in need," said Young.