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ICRC President in South Sudan: Situation dire

This week, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer went to South Sudan to see how to assist people who are affected by the latest fighting.

Since the outbreak of violence in mid December, thousands have died or been wounded, and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes fearing for their lives. 

At a site for the displaced in Awerial, in the centre of South Sudan, the president met many who were struggling to survive.  One woman, Adonding, from Jonglei has been in this camp for 3 weeks and is still wearing the only clothes she has:  "I ran in these clothes for my life.  My baby left in these clothes too," she explains. 

Her story is all too common.  Mr Maurer said: "What strikes me is they left everything behind and they came to this new place almost without any personal belongings. They left their animals behind." 

The ICRC has already provided 30,000 people here with basic items such as cooking items, blankets, tarpaulins and a two-week food supply but more needs to be done. 

"The food that was brought is not enough," says Adonding.  "My child's health is affected.  The water is giving us diarrhoea."

The ICRC is appealing for more funds to help people in South Sudan. 

"We are operating here in South Sudan in an environment which has been challenging even before the fighting broke out," explains Mr Maurer.  "This is a very poor context which makes this situation particularly dire."

Francois Moreillon, deputy head of ICRC delegation in South Sudan adds: "Now we are looking to assist an additional 60,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) with food and non food items and we will keep monitoring the situation.

Mr Maurer also visited the northern town of Bentiu and the hospital which ICRC has been supporting.  There are so far four ICRC surgical teams in the country providing emergency care to the wounded.  The ICRC has also been providing hospitals in the country with urgently needed supplies of clean water, wound-dressing kits and medicine to treat people in Juba, Bentiu and Malakal.

Mr Maurer also met government officials in Juba. The ICRC is calling on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, avoid civilian casualties and allow people to reach health-care facilities safely.

 

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

Since the fighting began, the ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross have been working to address the most urgent needs. The ICRC has:

  • deployed two surgical teams, in addition to the two teams based in country in Juba, Malakal and Bentiu, who have performed 453 surgeries, and are providing emergency medical care to hundreds of wounded people, with more surgical teams to arrive soon;
  • provided wound-dressing kits, medicines and other medical supplies to treat at least 500 people in Juba, and delivered medicines and other general and specialized medical supplies to treat up to 250 weapon-wounded patients in Bentiu and hundreds more in Malakal;
  • provided emergency food to 30'000 people at Awerial IDP site
  • delivered 161,000 litres of clean water to one of Juba’s major hospitals, where it has also built eight latrines, and set up seven tents to increase space for patient wards;
  • provided 160,000 litres of water for 8,000 IDPs in Bentiu
  • provided tarpaulins for 6,000 people and tents for 12,000 people in a camp for the displaced in Juba;
  • helped family members separated by the fighting contact their loved ones by telephone and written messages;
  • registered unaccompanied children with a view to reuniting families.

 

 

SHOTLIST

Location: South Sudan

Length: 3:21

Format: HD & SD mov

Production: Jacob Kurtzer

Camera: Jake Simkin

Sound: English/French

ICRC ref: AV0141N

Date: 7 January 2014

 

Copyright: ICRC access all

 

0:00 Awerial camp

0:06 ICRC president walking in camp with South Sudanese Red Cross and ICRC colleague

0:19 group of boys

0:26 SOUNDBITE Adonding, displaced woman from Jonglei:

"I ran in these clothes for my life."

0:32 "My baby left in these clothes too"

0:45 SOUNDBITE: Peter Maurer, president of ICRC (in English)

"What struck me of course is in this situation is they left in sort of a catastrophe from the fighting.  They left everything behind and they came to this new place almost without any personal belongings. They left their animals behind."

1:07 SOUNDBITE Adonding, displaced woman from Jonglei:

"The food that was brought is not enough."

1:12 "My child's health is affected."

1:25 "The water is giving us diarrhoea."

1:30 Various of ICRC water structure and people collecting water

2:11 SOUNDBITE: Peter Maurer, president of ICRC (in English)

This is particularly challenging situation knowing we are operating here in South Sudan in an environment which has been challenging even before the fighting broke out.  This is a very poor context makes this situation particularly dire."

2:27 SOUNDBITE Francois Moreillon, Deputy Head of Delegation, ICRC South Sudan (in English):

""Now we are looking to assist an additional 6,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) with food and non food items and we will keep monitoring the situation."

2:40 0:00 Aerial shots of South Sudan

2:46 interior of helicopter

2:55 Aerial shots

3:07 Close up of President in helicopter

3:11 ICRC cars in the dust

3:16 Displaced people in the dust

3:21 END

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