Will 2019 bring peace or famine? South Sudan marks five years of war

by Isabelle Gerretsen | @izzygerretsen | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 14 December 2018 00:00 GMT

An armed man walks on a path close to the village of Nialdhiu, South Sudan February 7, 2017. Picture taken February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Image Caption and Rights Information
The conflict has forced an estimated 4.2 million people from their homes, about 2 million inside and 2.2 million outside the country

By Isabelle Gerretsen

LONDON, Dec 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - As South Sudan's civil war enters its sixth year, conflict has lessened following a peace deal but violence prevents 1.5 million people receiving aid and famine is possible in 2019.

Despite a fragile accord signed by the government and rebel groups in September, the world's youngest country is awash with weapons and riven with ethnic grievances, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence and cycle of revenge.

"We have a long way to go to ensure that all parties meaningfully engage in the peace process," said Janardhan Rao, country director for aid group Mercy Corps.

"The sexual violence against women and girls in South Sudan is abhorrent and underscores that signing a peace agreement is only a starting point," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Here are 10 facts about the war in South Sudan:

- The war has killed almost 400,000 people since 2013, about half dying from violent injuries.

- The conflict has forced an estimated 4.2 million people from their homes, about 2 million inside and 2.2 million outside the country.

- About two-thirds of the population - 7 million people - require humanitarian aid, with women and children most in need.

- More than four in 10 people - an estimated 5.2 million - face severe malnutrition.

- South Sudan has the world's highest rate of children out of school, with more than 70 percent - 2.2 million - not receiving an education.

- Every third school has been damaged, destroyed, occupied or closed since 2013.

- During the first three months of 2019, the United Nations (U.N.) predicts that every other person in South Sudan will be severely short of food.

- The U.N. appealed on Thursday for $1.5 billion in aid in 2019.

- Combatants on all sides have perpetrated serious human rights abuses, including gang rape, abductions, sexual slavery of women and girls and recruitment of children.

- About 1.5 million people live in areas with high rates of hunger and sexual violence where it is difficult or impossible to deliver relief due to fighting and attacks on aid workers. Sources: Mercy Corps, Medecins San Frontieres, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, London School of Tropical Medicine, Unicef, Reuters (Reporting by Isabelle Gerretsen @izzygerretsen; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.