Thousands flee South Sudan violence

Help us continue our mission to feed, shelter and educate the children of South Sudan through our East Africa Emergency Appeal.


Written 2014

An outbreak of fighting in the world's newest nation has left thousands killed or injured, and tens of thousands fleeing as refugees.

South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbour in 2011, the final outcome of a 2005 peace deal negotiated at the end of a 22-year civil war.

Fighting started in December last year, but the full scale of the violence is hard to gauge. Reports suggest thousands have been killed or injured, but even more disturbing are suggestions that civilians are being targeted. In some cases ethnic identity has been the motivation for killings, harassment and the destruction of property.

Neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Kenya have already taken more than 42,000 refugees, but roughly 395,000 South Sudanese have fled their homes, leaving about 352,000 people internally displaced. More than 60,000 have sought shelter in just 10 United Nations peace-keeping bases.

World Vision has been in the area now known as South Sudan (previously Sudan) since 1989, because despite its potential oil wealth, South Sudan is one of Africa's least-developed countries. The majority of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

TOP: Children queue for the breakfast porridge World Vision is handing out in Kakuma refugee camp. PIcture: World Vision/Joseph Mathenge; BOTTOM LEFT: A displaced girl looks on as women and children leave a church compound where they sought shelter in Juba. Picture: World Vision; BOTTOM RIGHT: displaced children outside a church compound where they sought refuge. Picture: World Vision.

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People affected by the crisis need food and nutrition, access to healthcare, water and sanitation projects, shelter, non-food items, and protection.

World Vision is working to provide these things. It has already reached 3,000 people sheltering at a UN compound in Malakal with education programs.

Across the border in Uganda, the immediate needs of arriving families include food, shelter, latrines, clean water, utensils, bedding, and other assorted non-food items. World Vision is distributing a range of non-food items to some of the almost 30,000 refugees in the Adjumani district over the next three days.

The UN estimates it will cost $166 million to meet the humanitarian needs of the people caught up in this fighting until March.

Beyond money, however, World Vision also wants the parties to the conflict to:

  • Immediately cease hostilities and comply with International Humanitarian Law to ensure the safety of civilians, particularly children;
  • Facilitate the safe, unhindered and timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians impacted by the crisis, particularly children; and
  • Work toward peace and reconciliation through dialogue that promotes sustainable inclusive governance.