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South Sudan aid halted as agency is looted

11 December 2015

UN/LOEY FELIPE

Ongoing concern: the United Nations Security Council discusses the situation in South Sudan, in New York, at the start of this month 

Ongoing concern: the United Nations Security Council discusses the situation in South Sudan, in New York, at the start of this month 

THE headquarters of an aid agency in South Sudan have been looted, forcing staff to flee and the centre to close.

The charity Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA), which is a partner of Christian Aid, said that the humanitarian situation in the region was worsening.

The executive director of MRDA, Brian Badi, said: “We don’t know for certain when we will be able to resume our work, but we need to be ready. There are people depending on us.

“Fighting first broke out in May this year and MRDA was the first to appeal for emergency relief, but there was no response. To date, no emergency food or non-food items have reached Mundri. The people are suffering now and depending largely on wild roots and fruit to survive.”

Civil war in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, first broke out in 2013 after a power struggle between the President and his former deputy. As many as 100,000 people are thought to have died so far, and 1.6 million others have been displaced inside the country, while 600,000 have taken refuge in neighbouring countries (News, 20 December 2013).

A peace deal was signed this year (News, 21 August), but the fighting has continued, with reports of repeated violations by all sides. Calls from church leaders for peace have been ignored.

Christian Aid’s programme officer in the country, Rosie Crowther, said: “Access is difficult in some areas of South Sudan; so it’s essential to respond to urgent humanitarian needs as soon as there is a break in fighting.”

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