Sudan: Civil society groups call for urgent humanitarian aid to South Sudan

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed concern over the current situation in South Sudan saying it could access only a tiny area of the capital, Juba, to check humanitarian needs, the dead or injured in the city.

In a press release received in Khartoum, the ICRC said it remained “extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation after several days of armed clashes in Juba."

The humanitarian body was particularly worried about the civilian population and those wounded in the fighting, noting that “heavy rains have made the situation even more dire for those displaced.”

South Sudan Red Cross (SSRC) teams managed to move in a few areas in central Juba on Monday and that they were followed by ICRC teams later the same day.

“The ICRC teams could only access seven sites in a small part of the city in order to try and assess the humanitarian situation," it said.

"As an immediate relief measure, we were able to provide some urgent assistance for the people who have been displaced or wounded, including food assistance (such as sorghum, beans, salt, sugar and CSB [corn soya blend]) to cover needs from 3 to 6 days to around 100 patients, families and staff as well as civilians (mostly women and children) who took shelter in the orthopaedic centre supported by the ICRC."

It was also able to help a number of women and children who took refuge outside the South Sudan Rec Cross compounds in Juba as well as approximately 3,000 people displaced in Saint Joseph Parish Church, and 500 people hosted in the Anglican Cathedral compound.

Meanwhile, South Sudanese civil society organizations were crying out for help to protect civilians and help bring peace to South Sudan, three days after the country's capital has been the scene of bloody clashes pitching forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his deputy Rieck Machar.

“We, in the Transitional Justice Working Group in South Sudan (TJWG) express our deep concern about the continued violence in our beloved country. The violence has resulted in the killings of hundreds of military personnel and combatants from both sides as well as civilians,” said TJWG), a coalition of law and civil society organizations, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement, received by PANA in Khartoum, urged the UN Security Council, the African Union and Human Rights Council to step in and help save the lives of civilians in the country.

Although reports from Juba said the situation was now stable, the group warned that they have observe that both sides to the conflict were organizing possible reinforcements and that the conflict had spread from Juba to other parts of the country.

“We note that there is a general lack of command and control among the fighting forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO),” it warned.

The statement noted that displaced civilians taking shelter at United Nations protection of civilians sites (PoCs) have been “subjected to systematic and deliberate attack” and UN peacekeepers have been injured and one confirmed dead during the attacks.

The coalition has urged “all regional and international actors to take appropriate measures to protect the people of South Sudan, particularly civilians, and more so women and children.”

The group further called upon the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Heads of State of neighbouring countries to “ensure that an end is brought to the violence in Juba and other parts of South Sudan.”
-0- PANA MO/AR 12July2016

12 july 2016 17:10:04

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