“South Sudan has reaffirmed its rejection of a proposal by the African Union to send in additional troops to help stabilize the country. In an exclusive interview with CCTV Africa, President Salva Kiir said he had not been consulted on the matter and would not agree to more foreign troops being deployed in his country” (CCTV Africa, 2016).
Speaker: Fadéla Chaib, WHO Spokesperson
Date: 19 July 2016
In response to the crisis in South Sudan, WHO works with its partners to ensure that the population continues to access basic health services. The situation endured by displaced people, where inadequate access to water and sanitation services have resulted in poor living, hygiene and sanitation conditions resulting in threats of outbreaks.
One of these threats is an upsurge of reported cases of suspected cholera/ acute watery diarrhoea. The suspected cases are from Juba and Duk Counties in Central Equatoria and Jonglei States respectively.
WHO with other partners is currently responding by conducting active case search in the two communities where recent cases reside and had pre-positioned commodities and other supplies including tents, cholera kits that provides treatment for 400 people, cholera preparedness and response materials for health workers, laboratory reagents and Rapid Diagnostic Tests. WHO is expanding disease surveillance and laboratory investigation of suspect cases; providing support for the care and treatment of cases, and strengthening public health education and social mobilization.
The risk of further spread is a major concern. With the coming rains, it is realistic to expect an increase in malaria and water-borne diseases, so we can expect medical needs to rise in an environment where WHO and partners are already working hard to keep up with existing health needs.
An estimated 1.6 million people affected by the ongoing crisis needs help. WHO delivered lifesaving treatments and supplies including: trauma kits, body bags, IV fluids , iodine solutions and trauma kits. In addition, WHO is also shipping to Juba several kits of essential drugs and medical supplies. The supplies are expected to be in Juba early next week.
Under extremely difficult conditions, WHO and partners in South Sudan are also reaching families sheltering in schools, Churches and settlement areas across South Sudan with life-saving health care. Mobile medical teams are dispatched to reach people in many areas hardest hit by the ongoing conflict including Juba, Wau, Bentiu and Torit. Rapid assessments to monitor the health situation of the displaced people are to also be scaled up in Juba and the affected states.
More than a hundred WHO staff members remain in the country.
WHO is deploying an emergency logistician, information management and Public Health Officers to support the WHO and health partners respond to the crisis.
WHO requires a total of US$ 17.5 million for 2016 of which US$ 4.3 million has been received. This amount is likely to increase due to the recent conflict.
Fadéla Chaib WHO Spokesperson
NEW YORK, United States of America, July 18, 2016 – The Secretary-General met today with H. E. Yoweri Kabuta Museveni, President of Uganda, on the margins of the African Union Summit in Kigali. The Secretary-General and the President exchanged in-depth on the situation in South Sudan.
The Secretary-General and the President expressed grave concern about the situation in South Sudan, and exchanged views on practical measures that could be taken to address it. In this respect, the Secretary-General recalled his briefing to the Security Council on 13 July in which he proposed the imposition of an arms embargo, targeted sanctions against violators of human rights and international humanitarian law and the strengthening of UNMISS, in order to protect civilians.
The Secretary-General also referred to the demilitarization of Juba as a way of sustainably restoring security in the capital and facilitating the functioning of the Transitional Government of National Unity and the implementation of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan. President Museveni stressed the need to strengthen national ownership to ensure that any gain made towards peace and security is irreversible.
The Secretary-General commended the IGAD leaders for their untiring engagement in South Sudan, and said he was looking forward to the personal leadership of President Museveni and that of the other Heads of State and Government of the region. He also acknowledged Uganda’s contribution to AMISOM and the sacrifices made in this respect.
The Secretary-General and the President discussed the follow-up to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which Uganda is planning to ratify soon.
NEW YORK, United States of America, July 18, 2016 – The Secretary-General met today with former President Alpha Oumar Konare, African Union High Representative for South Sudan, and former President Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.
Former Presidents Konare and Mogae updated the Secretary-General on their efforts, including recent consultations in Juba with South Sudanese leaders. The Secretary-General commended them for their efforts, and encouraged to remain steadfast. He recalled the recommendations he made to the Security Council in favour of an arms embargo, the imposition of targeted sanctions against individuals involved in violence and blocking the implementation of the peace agreement, and the reinforcement of the UN Mission in South Sudan.
Acknowledging the seriousness of the situation and the risk of relapse into conflict and that of further and widespread atrocities against the civilian population, the Secretary-General and the two former Presidents agreed on the urgency of concerted regional and international action to address the current challenges and bring about lasting peace and security in South Sudan. They emphasized in this respect the role of IGAD and of African leaders.
There are certainly a crisis in Juba, as the escalated to old-days in the Capital of South Sudan. As the President Salva Kiir and VP Dr. Riek Machar have started to fight each other, as their trust level is beyond the reasonable level. There been dialogue and even negotiations between the old Generals; who has had different subject and loyalties to different tribes. Still the surge for power and generate it all. Is the reason why the President was offended by what the Editor-In-Chief Alfred Taban of South Sudan Tribune wrote on the 16th July 2016, as I have the copy of the article that he wrote and published! That apparently hurt the Executive who have been vigilant against the SPLM-IO Riek Machar and his loyal soldiers, as the Government forces have attacked the Opposition on their bases.
Still the newly fresh cease-fire, while the Government has even detained SPLM-IO MPs who was living in Hotels in Juba into jails after the recent skirmishes and attacks, proves the unstable situation and the little peace. This together with UNMISS staff leaving the capital, International Red Cross, Embassies and other foreign dignitaries, as well as Indian Army and Ugandan Army coming into Juba to clear the town.
We can expect in this unfree and unstable situation that the free press and liberty seems to also be under fire, but when you acting on the terms of State of Emergency. So that with even government forces go into the UN World Food Program warehouse and looted it. As there been reports over the last year of the lacking levels of food and fleeing from violence. The insecurity together with the now the proof of lacking freedoms, shows that the Troika’s faith in the newly formed Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) after the Peace Agreement of 2015, where the new National Assembly and Government should mend the wounds of the newest conflict between the leaders. That proven again when the President cannot handle being questioned by the media and their men with the pencil and thoughts into paper; this should be a worry as the soldiers are fighting and the disarray of society that are for grabs, by men more used to the battlefield then building the state. That should be reminder of the fragile state and the quest to build the newest African Nation, that the South Sudanese people deserves, with leaders who works continuously to achieve progress for the citizens; instead they are fighting for their own plate and not for the people, that should be a warning sign for the international community who supporters the development and continuation of the Kiir Government.
Take a look at the Article that made a fellow human-being detained as he wrote critically about the leadership of South Sudan:
JUBA, South Sudan, July 15, 2016 – Due to the recent fighting in Juba and subsequent associated operational challenges, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and UN agencies, funds and programs in South Sudan have ordered the temporary relocation of some non-critical staff. UNMISS and UN agencies, funds and programs will continue running critical operations to support the people of South Sudan, including protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance.
NEW YORK, United States of America, July 14, 2016 – The World Food Programme is outraged by the looting of its main warehouse in Juba. Despite that serious setback, WFP staff have already been distributing vital food assistance to people displaced by the violence in the South Sudanese capital.
At WFP’s request, UNMISS peacekeepers did an assessment of the warehouse on the western edge of Juba on Wednesday and reported extensive looting of food. WFP staff have not yet been able to reach the warehouse to confirm the extent of the losses.
Before the fighting started at the end of last week, more than 4,500 metric tons of food was in the warehouse, enough to provide lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to about 220,000 people for a month. It also held trucks, generators and other relief items.
“WFP strongly condemns the theft of food intended for the poorest and most vulnerable people of South Sudan,” said WFP Deputy Regional Director Vernon Archibald. “While the extent of the looting is not yet clear, we fear that the loss of these vital food supplies will severely hamper WFP’s ability to assist the tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes because of the violence.”
Regardless of the theft, Country Director Joyce Luma noted that WFP has already provided urgently needed food assistance to thousands of displaced people sheltering at UN peacekeeping bases, using stocks from a smaller warehouse in another part of town.
“In addition to providing food assistance to displace people in Juba, which is our normal role, WFP has also sheltered some 3,000 people in our main office compound, mostly women and children who fled for their lives as fighting raged around us,” said Luma. “A new mother fled to our compound with her baby son just hours after giving birth.”
Luma added, “At the same time we cannot forget that the dire humanitarian crisis in other parts of South Sudan has not abated, and our teams throughout the country are still providing lifesaving support to millions of people who face severe hunger.”
The warehouse on the west side of Juba serves as WFP’s main logistical hub inside of South Sudan, and is used to supply WFP operations in the rest of the country.
“In past incidents of large-scale looting, WFP has been able to negotiate the return of looted food when those who took it recognized the importance of the humanitarian assistance that WFP provides,” Luma said. “We hope that the parties responsible for this devastating loss will show their humanity and return the relief supplies so they can be used to assist thousands of innocent civilians who have been caught up in this brutal conflict.”
GENEVA, Switzerland, July 13, 2016 – The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has reported that the ceasefire in the crisis-gripped country appears to be “largely holding, barring sporadic gunfire,” while the UN refugee agency has urged countries to keep their borders open for people fleeing tensions in Juba, where the human rights wing has warned the situation is “deteriorating rapidly.”
According to a UN spokesperson, UNMISS today welcomed the ceasefire announced [by President Salva Kiir and endorsed by First Vice President Riek Machar] yesterday, and Mission chief Ellen Margrethe Løj, strongly urged all parties to adhere to the ceasefire and called on South Sudanese leaders to ensure the order is conveyed through all security forces’ chains of command so that soldiers return to their barracks.
The ceasefire comes after days of clashes between soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition, in an around the South Sudanese capital of Juba. The UN human rights office has said that since Thursday, 7 July, according to Government figures, at least 272 people had been killed, including 33 civilians.
UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters at UN Headquarters this afternoon that Ms. Løj has urged security forces in Juba to allow unhindered access to UNMISS patrols to protect the civilian population and called on the parties to allow civilians to move freely to places of refuge.
“She urged the Government to open up corridors to allow UN and humanitarian actors to provide vital supplies and other assistance to the affected civilians, as well as access for medical evacuations,” Mr. Dujarric added.
UNMISS also reported that the airport in the capital has been reopened, although commercial flights remain suspended. Peacekeepers were able to conduct a limited number of short patrols in Juba today.
Displaced civilians taking refuge at the Tomping base of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in the wake of fresh clashes in Juba between soldiers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA in Opposition (SPLA-IO). UN Photo/Beatrice Mategwa
Since the fighting began on Friday, some 5,000 additional internally displaced persons (IDPs) have sought protection in the UN’s Tomping compound in the capital. Another 3,000 IDPs who arrived at the UN House premise have been relocated to the protection of civilians’ site nearby, the Spokesperson explained, referring to the situation at some of the protection of civilians (PoC) sites UMISS has been operating since the political face-off between President Kiir and Mr. Machar erupted into full-blown conflict in 2013.
Human rights situation ‘deteriorating rapidly’ UN warns
Meanwhile at the regular press briefing in Geneva, spokesperson Cécile Pouilly of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told reporters: “We are extremely concerned at the rapid deterioration of the security and human rights situation in South Sudan.”
Preliminary estimates indicated that at least 36,000 people had been displaced by the fighting and were seeking shelter in the UNMISS civilian protection sites and many other locations across the city. Most of the affected people were women and children.
Ms. Pouilly noted that OHCHR is also deeply concerned at reports of civilians being prevented from seeking refuge in the premises of the UNMISS and, in some cases, being shot at while trying to do so, as well as reports that UN compounds and PoC sites have been directly caught in the fighting and apparently at times directly targeted.
She said that there are indications the violence has started to spread to other parts of the country. Armed clashes reportedly erupted yesterday in Mundri, Lainya, Kajo-Keji and Yei, in Central Equatoria state, as well as in Torit, in Eastern Equatoria state.
Welcoming the ceasefire declared by the leaders of the two sides, OHCHR called on both leaders to exercise their leadership and make a concerted and genuine effort to stop their respective forces from fighting each other, as well as to do their utmost to ensure the protection of the civilian population.
UN refugee agency calls for safe passage for people fleeing Juba
The UN refugee agency is calling on all armed parties to ensure safe passage for people fleeing the fighting in Juba, urging neighbouring countries to keep borders open to people seeking asylum.
“Emergency preparedness is in progress in Kenya, Sudan and other neighbouring countries in case of a major influx,” said Spokesperson Leo Dobbs of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Some borders have been affected, such as the Uganda-South Sudan crossing, where security is tightened on the South Sudan side, he said. This has led to a significant decrease in the number of new arrivals coming into Uganda over the weekend.
He said that just 95 people crossed on Saturday, dropping to 36 on Sunday, compared with a daily average of 167 for July and 171 for June.
Also at the briefing, Tarik Jašarevic, for the World Health Organization (WHO), said the movement of WHO staff in Juba was being restricted by military forces. Mothers carrying children had been seen fleeing and trying to reach protection of civilians compounds.
Several days earlier, the WHO had managed to supply the Juba Teaching Hospital with essential medicine and body bags. Medical kits would be distributed to partners on protection of civilians sites, and the WHO was mobilizing additional human and financial resources.
Out of the $7.5 million which the WHO needs for health interventions in South Sudan, only $4.3 million had been received thus far. The health cluster as a whole was only 28 per cent funded, stated Mr. Jašarevic.