OMAHA – In a strongly proposed document bearing the signature of Dr. John Chuol Kuek, the Country Director for Relief Organization for South Sudan USA, and seen by the Upper Nile Times correspondence, calls into action the following world bodies such as: United States of America, United Nations, Troika, African Union, and IGAD. Dr. Kuek, in his letter, further delineated that the Republic of South Sudan is the newest of all African countries, having become an independent state on July 9, 2011. The country is comprised of three regions: Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria. South Sudan is a multiethnic country, with a history of tribal rivalries dating back to early human civilization. It was only after years of prolonged war that began in the mid-1950s, among different political, tribal, and military factions and with Sudan that South Sudan became a full-fledged country.
However, the country was born with mounted interests from external forces that predisposed the country to crisis. The threats from both national ethnic differences and international interests plunged the country in a deep crisis on December 15, 2013. This was when the Nuer ethnic group was targeted by the armed group hailed from the president’s ethnic group, the Dinka. Conflict broke out in Juba and spread to all four regions in South Sudan. Threats to sustainable peace have been paramount over all possibilities of peace initiatives. Humanitarian crises have sky-rocketed with no apparent solutions. A number of aid agencies participated to provide basic necessities, such as food and medical care; however, this has not proven sufficient since half of the population lived with nothing but the handouts from the aid agencies.
The current conflict is aggravating the already dire socio-economic and political situation in the region. The intense human suffering is likely to continue for years to come, unless the world acts and brings a lasting solution to these man-made catastrophes. As a party concerned with humanitarian causes, we have proposed some mechanisms to be put in place. These are meant to address the catastrophes all over the country, especially the areas under the control of the SPLM – IO.
The Relief Organization for South Sudan requests that the United Nation aid agencies figure out a way to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and looming famine in the country. The best way to address this is by establishing an Operational Lifeline with a principal operational office in Lokichogio, Kenya. This operation will service the areas most affected by this ongoing civil war. The Relief Organization for South is echoing a call by the Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM –IO, Dr. Riek Machar, in his recent article dated on March 30, 2017 that was calling on the United Nation to convene a forum to bring all the stakeholders together including the national actors in order to work out some intervention mechanism akin to the previous Operations Lifeline Sudan (OLS). According to the Chairman’s statement, the humanitarian needs of both the Nuba Mountains and South Sudan were drastically addressed in 1986 by the Operations Lifeline Sudan.
Rationale of the proposal
The ongoing war has created serious food shortages and public health concerns, adversely affecting the provision of basic life support. There have been horrific food shortages as well as a lack of health and mental care for the vulnerable population, especially women and children. According to the UNOCHA report, the country has already experienced an outbreak of communicable diseases of epidemic potential, including cholera, measles, HIV/Aids, diarrhea and malaria. All of these would have been preventable, but for inadequate nutrition and medical intervention.
There is also an urgent need for the basic and secondary care for the vulnerable people, especially those injured in cross-fire. According to the UN, around 100,000 people are affected by famine and 7.5 million are in dire need of urgent humanitarian services. The aid agencies and people of goodwill need to act now. Mark C. Toner, the acting spokesperson in Washington DC, issued a statement on February 20, 2017 that said the United States is gravely concerned by the February 20 declaration of famine in parts of South Sudan and by the significant scale of humanitarian need throughout the country. Furthermore, the regime in Juba has acknowledged and declared famine as well, scapegoating the humanitarian crisis to the SPLM-IO.
In light of the above humanitarian descriptions in the country, the regime in South Sudan called for emergency assistance to the vulnerable population for the areas under its control, leaving half of the population in dire needs. The World Food Program had also written to the World Bank earlier, requesting emergency humanitarian support.
Proposed Solution to Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan
The Relief Organization for South Sudan in the United States worries that the impact of the crisis on the health and mental health of the human population is out of control and ever-worsening. In addition, we also feel that social cohesion among all the 64 ethnic groups has been damaged by this ongoing conflict, and this will probably only exacerbate with time, making it difficult to reconcile the entire population once this war is ended. The country deserves lasting peace. The South Sudanese deserve a chance to live a life free of war and atrocities.
This proposal therefore calls for emergency humanitarian support Operation Lifeline headquarters to be established in Lokichogio. The proposed headquarters will help adequately address an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the areas under control of the SPLM –IO that are most affected by the war.