The United States is gravely concerned by the serious escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Pibor County in South Sudan's Jonglei State.
The United States is gravely concerned by the serious escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Pibor County in South Sudan's Jonglei State. As many as 120,000 civilians have fled their homes as a result of spikes in the ongoing battle between state and non-state actors and inter-communal clashes. These vulnerable populations are living outside of protected communities and don't have enough food, safe drinking water, shelter, and health care.
This large-scale displacement comes at the onset of the rainy season when these semi-nomadic communities traditionally return to town centers. The military has a responsibility to protect civilians, but there have been disturbing reports of Sudan People's Liberation Army, or SPLA, soldiers harming and intimidating civilians in Jonglei State. The government of the Republic of South Sudan must ensure that its military forces adhere to humanitarian principles and protect all civilians regardless of their background or ethnicity.
Town centers are highly militarized, preventing civilians from freely and safely returning. To help alleviate this rapidly escalating humanitarian crisis, the United States is calling for an immediate relocation of SPLA garrisons out of town centers and the removal of commanding officers with records of civilian endangerment from service in Pibor County. The people of Jonglei must be able to return to key population centers to receive urgent life-saving assistance.
The United States remains committed to doing all it can to reach vulnerable populations wherever they are in South Sudan. The U.S. welcomes the government of the Republic of South Sudan's efforts to help aid agencies begin to reach as many as 25,000 people in remote, demilitarized bush areas for the first time last week.
All restrictions on humanitarian assistance for those in desperate need must stop. The United States joins its humanitarian partners in calling on all parties to the conflict to ensure unfettered humanitarian access to all parts of Jonglei, and the U.S. is prepared to increase its support if and when additional access is granted.