Friday, October 03, 2014

Uncertain Future For South Sudan

The failure of peace talks and the end of South Sudan’s wet season could unleash fresh fighting between government forces and rebel factions, propelling millions of people in the world’s youngest nation back towards a man-made famine, analysts and humanitarian workers warn.

Nine months of bad-tempered negotiations have yet to produce a firm ceasefire, let alone a political deal to end a conflict punctuated by atrocities. Skirmishes have continued in areas close to where thousands of civilians are crammed into UN bases. There are fears that both sides have used the seasonal lull to re-arm.

Surging violence would roil plans by the UN and humanitarian partners to use the dry season to patch up roads and other infrastructure and pre-position critical supplies before the meagre returns from the current disrupted harvest run out in early 2015. The rains usually begin to ease by late October.

It is going to be a combination of a quieter environment for the people of this country, plus the continuation of a large aid operation, that will help people get through the dry season,” Toby Lanzer, the UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, told IRIN. “If either of those two are absent, disaster will occur.”

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