The United Nations and aid agencies have warned of a deteriorating situation in South Sudan which has left millions of its people exposed to diseases such as malaria and cholera.
On Sunday, the UN warned that over 1.5 million people in the war-torn country had been forced to leave their homes and millions of others are in need of food and drinking water.
“Now that the rains have set in, conditions in South Sudan are deteriorating by the day: people are literally living in mud,” United Nations aid chief for South Sudan Toby Lanzer said Saturday.
“Cholera has broken out, malaria is rampant and many children are malnourished. Millions of people need emergency healthcare, food, clean water, proper sanitation and shelter to make it through the year,” Lanzar added.
International aid agency Oxfam has also voiced concern over the situation in the country, which has been dealing with a months-long conflict.
“Both parties to the conflict must genuinely commit to building a path to peace that is robust and enduring, and they must call on their troops to lay down their arms and stop putting the lives of their own citizens at risk,” Oxfam’s South Sudan chief Emma Jane Drew said.
The political crisis in South Sudan began after President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, accused rebel leader Riek Machar, a Nuer, of attempting a coup in December 2013.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s tribe against Machar’s.
Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million displaced in the war. Over 94,000 civilians have also been forced to live in eight UN bases in the country, while many others have fled to neighboring states, particularly Uganda and Ethiopia.