13 July 2016
After fighting broke out in South Sudan’s capital Juba over the weekend, Red Cross staff are beginning to assess the situation there.
Armed confrontations have escalated in Juba since Thursday 7 July.
At this stage the numbers of deaths and wounded are uncertain although they are likely to be high.
The current violence comes after several months of gathering tensions throughout the country.
In June intense fighting also started in the north-western city of Wau.
All this takes place against the backdrop of multiple peace talks and deals designed to end the internal conflict that began in late 2013.
President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice-President Riek Machar, announced a ceasefire which came into force on Monday at 15:00 GMT.
The ceasefire appears to be holding.
Access to Juba remains extremely limited.
However, in order to try and assess the humanitarian situation, on Monday the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were able to access seven sites in a small part of the city.
The ICRC have already provided some urgent assistance for the people who have been wounded or forced to flee their homes during the recent fighting. This has included:
- Providing food (such as sorghum, beans, salt and sugar) to hundreds of people.
- Providing medical supplies and essential drugs to Juba Teaching and Juba Military Hospitals to care for the wounded.
- Working with the South Sudan Red Cross to safely manage dead bodies.
Heavy rains have made the situation worse for those forced to flee their homes by the fighting. There is a concern for public health.
Priorities in the coming days
The ICRC aim to continue to expand relief operations when the security situation allows.
This will involve providing for the immediate needs of the wounded, sick and homeless, as well as ensuring ICRC manage dead bodies with dignity.
The ICRC are also working on the water treatment station at the Nile to make it operational as soon as possible, in order to provide clean water to the affected population.
Currently, ICRC operations continue in the rest of the country.
In Wau for example, in addition to food, shelter and health assistance to the people displaced in the town and in rural areas after fighting erupted two weeks ago, the ICRC have also facilitated more than 1,000 phone calls so that people can reconnect with their loved ones.
Our support to Maiwut and Kodok hospitals also continues.
- The ICRC operation in South Sudan is the second largest in the world, behind only Syria.
- Since 2014 the British Red Cross has provided over £1 million funding and a variety of specialist staff to ICRC operations in South Sudan – thanks to our supporters.
- Please donate to theSouth Sudan Crisis Appeal.
- Read more stories from South Sudan and find out more about the ICRC’s work.