World Humanitarian Day: One Humanity in South Sudan

August 19th, 2016

World Humanitarian Day: One Humanity in South Sudan

As we celebrate ‘One Humanity’ on World Humanitarian Day we think about the challenges faced by men, women and children living in conflict-ridden South Sudan and we remember the work of our partners, the Diocese of Wau, in tirelessly serving those displaced by conflict. 

1 humanity

UN OCHA

South Sudan is a country that has seen unimaginable violence and suffering since a brutal civil war broke out in December 2013. A fragile peace deal agreed in August 2015 has been marred by outbreaks of violence in different parts of the country this year, culminating in mid-July with fighting in Juba that displaced almost 40,000 civilians.

The humanitarian needs in South Sudan are desperate. As of June 2016, UNOCHA reported that a staggering 1.6 million people are thought to be displaced within the country and  6.1 million are considered to be ‘in need’ with urgent requirements for food, shelter, health treatment and clean water.

Of the 1.6 million displaced, only 170,000 of those are in UN Protection of Civilians camps. The vast majority are sheltering with local communities, many in locations beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance due to insecurity or heavy rains.

The region where the Diocese of Wau works is sadly not unfamiliar with violence and displacement. The lives of people there have been repeatedly shaken since civil war broke out in 2013 and the region has played host to communities of displaced people from surrounding states. For several years the Diocese of Wau has worked to deliver life-saving supplies, education and agricultural support to those in desperate need across five states, Lol, Wau, Gogrial, Twic and Tonj (formerly Western Bahr el Ghazal and Warrap).

The diligent and tireless efforts of staff at the Diocese of Wau to helping those in need, regardless of tribe, ethnicity or origins, and often at great risk to themselves, is a true testament to their belief in one humanity and shared responsibility towards each other. The photos that follow give a snapshot of conditions in the area in which the Diocese is at work, conditions that have been replicated across South Sudan for the last three years. They provide a glimpse into what life is like for those that the Diocese so sacrificially serves.

A view of Wau Diocese from the air. Photo: Diocese of Wau Website.

A view of Wau Diocese from the air. Photo: Diocese of Wau Website.

Man-Angui IDP Camp, Gogrial State (formerly Warrap)

This is a spontaneous settlement of several thousand people who have fled their homes because it was simply too dangerous to remain. Most were forced to leave with nothing, many separated from families, and continued insecurity prevent them from returning.

 

Men and women gather under trees at Man-Angui camp. Emergency relief is a top priority for these communities: food, medical care, shelter and clean water. The UN and other agencies have limited reach in the area which means that a significant number of people go without assistance. The situation is worsened by seasonal rains which prohibit the distribution of aid, destroy shelters and spread disease. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014

Men and women gather under trees at Man-Angui camp. Emergency relief in the form of food, medical care, shelter and clean water is a top priority for these communities. The UN and other agencies have limited reach in the area which means that a significant number of people go without assistance. The situation is worsened by seasonal rains which prohibit the distribution of aid, destroy shelters and spread disease. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014.

 

A makeshift shelter made from rugs and mosquito nets. Many lack any form of shelter and sleep under trees with no protection against blistering sun, heavy rains and deadly mosquitos. Pneumonia is a serious health threat and yet the camp lacks any health facilities. The Diocese of Wau, with the help of funding from HART has distributed enough mosquito nets to serve 3000 people in the camp. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014

A makeshift shelter made from rugs and mosquito nets. Many lack any form of shelter and sleep under trees with no protection against blistering sun, heavy rains and deadly mosquitoes. Pneumonia is a serious health threat and yet the camp lacks health facilities. The Diocese of Wau, with the help of funding from HART, has distributed enough mosquito nets to serve 3000 people in the camp. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014.

 

Awan Akuien Malual is 55 years old. He fled from Bentiu with his three wives and fifteen children. He has no way to feed his large family. “Since I have been here, I have buried two children, one woman and one old man. They died because they have no shelter and sleep under the trees. The rains will come soon, and we need to have proper shelters that will prevent the rain from coming inside, and prevent disease”. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014.

Awan Akuien Malual is 55 years old. He fled from Bentiu with his three wives and fifteen children. He has no way to feed his large family. “Since I have been here, I have buried two children, one woman and one old man. They died because they have no shelter and sleep under the trees. The rains will come soon, and we need to have proper shelters that will prevent the rain from coming inside, and prevent disease”. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014.

A woman holds up the leaves that people are forced to live on in the camp due to the desperate lack of food. The Diocese of Wau deliver and distribute food aid in the region. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014. The most important priority for displaced people in the area are food, medical care, shelter and clean water.

A woman holds up the leaves that people are forced to live on in the camp due to the desperate lack of food. The Diocese of Wau deliver and distribute food aid in the region. Photo: HART South Sudan Visit, March 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turalei IDP Camp, Twic State (formerly Warrap)

 

Margaret is from Bentiu in South Sudan. She fled fierce fighting in the city in which many civilians were killed and walked for ten days to reach Turalei IDP camp in what was formerly Warrap State. Her husband is fighting and she does not know whether he is still alive. She has been living in Turalei with her seven children since April 2014. She has not received food assistance since July, but earns a small amount of money for food by selling firewood. Sometimes they do not eat for two days at a time. She has no shelter, clothes or blankets for her children, and the nights are extremely cold. Photo: Hart South Sudan Visit, January 2015.

Margaret is from Bentiu in South Sudan. She fled fierce fighting in the city in which many civilians were killed and walked for ten days to reach Turalei camp in what was formerly Warrap State. Her husband is fighting and she does not know whether he is still alive. She has been living in Turalei with her seven children since April 2014. She has not received food assistance since July, but earns a small amount of money for food by selling firewood. Sometimes they do not eat for two days at a time. She has no shelter, clothes or blankets for her children, and the nights are extremely cold. Photo: Hart South Sudan Visit, January 2015.

 

Wau Town

In late June 2016, intense fighting broke out in Wau town between SPLA and youths associated with the opposition leading thousands to flee their homes and exacerbating the already severe humanitarian needs in the area. International Organisation for Migration figures estimate that there are some 83,000 people displaced in Wau and its surroundings. The Diocese of Wau has played a key role in distributing food aid to IDPs sheltering in church compounds in the town of Wau. You can read more about their efforts here.

Food aid arrives by truck. Photo: Diocese of Wau website, 2016

Food aid arrives by truck. Photo: Diocese of Wau website, 2016.

 

A Long-Term Vision

The Diocese not only tackles pressing humanitarian needs but it is committed to long-term development in the area. Given the devastating effects of the conflict on food security and the high rates of dependence on unreliable food aid the Diocese recognises that agriculture is key to rebuilding communities. They provide tools, seeds and training to help diversify agriculture, making it more resistant to evolving climatic challenges.

A garden supported by the Diocese of Wau. The Diocese not only tackles pressing humanitarian needs but it is committed to long-term development in the area. Given the devastating effects of the conflict on food security and the high rates of dependence on unreliable food aid the Diocese recognises that agriculture is key to rebuilding communities. They provide tools, seeds and training to help diversify agriculture, making it more resistance to evolving climatic challenges as well as tackling malnutrition. Photo: The Diocese of Wau Website

A garden supported by the Diocese of Wau. Photo: The Diocese of Wau Website.

 

We’re so thankful for all of the amazing work our partners do. You can read more about the work of the Diocese of Wau on their website.

For more information please read our visit reports on South Sudan.

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Disclaimer: This blog is a space for discussion and personal reflection. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and are not necessarily held by HART. Individual authors are responsible for the accuracy of statements made within the blog.

Alice Doorly

By Alice Doorly

Alice is our Campaigns and Research Intern and is country lead for Nigeria, Uganda, India and Timor-Leste. She is currently completing a Masters in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. She has a particular interest in post-conflict reconstruction, forced migration and governance in Africa.


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