Six terrible months have passed since fighting broke out in Juba in December 2013, and quickly spread across much of the country. Six months of fear and suffering for the people of South Sudan. Six months of sadness and frustration for all those who care about this young state’s future.
Violence broke out in Juba on 15 December, and quickly spread to other locations. During the first six weeks of the crisis, Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states saw heavy fighting between Government and opposition forces. Other states have been indirectly affected as displaced people have sought safety there. An agreement to cease hostilities was signed on 23 January, but its impact on the humanitarian situation is not yet clear.
The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated sharply since 15 December 2013. Violence erupted in the capital Juba and quickly spread, affecting six of the country’s ten states. In two weeks, up to 180,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, including some 70,000 seeking shelter in UN peacekeeping bases. It is expected that needs will escalate further in the coming weeks.
Though still fragile, the situation in South Sudan has the potential to improve in 2014 and beyond. Violence, while still high, is causing fewer deaths and displacing fewer people in more areas of the country than in previous years. The surge of refugees and returnees crossing into South Sudan has begun to subside. Food security is improving. For the first time since 2011, needs are no longer increasing.
July 2013 will mark two years since the Independence of the Republic of South Sudan and the country’s admission to the United Nations as the world’s newest state. While this period has been marked by notable achievements, the humanitarian situation remains fragile. Many challenges confront almost 4.6 million of the estimated 12 million people living in South Sudan.
The first half of 2012 has seen the continuation of unresolved issues between Sudan and South Sudan as well as the emergence of new challenges. Some of these challenges were anticipated in the most likely planning scenario developed for 2012, while other challenges have far exceeded expectations, further worsening the humanitarian situation to the extent that in several areas some of the worst-case scenario triggers have already occurred.
2011 brought historic changes for the people of South Sudan. On 9 January, the country held its long-awaited referendum on independence, with the people voting overwhelmingly to secede from Sudan. The Republic of South Sudan was born on 9 July, becoming the world’s 193rd country and marking the conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) period that ended Sudan’s protracted civil war.
The first six months of 2011 brought historic changes to the territory that becomes the world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan, in July 2011. Some of these changes were foreseen and captured in the most likely planning scenario developed by humanitarian actors for 2011. Others have exceeded expectations, resulting in a deterioration of the situation more closely in line with aspects of the worst-case scenario.