Latest reports now indicate that about 34,000 South Sudanese civilians have sought refuge in United Nations missions in Juba and Bor. South Sudan, having only recently come into existence as an independent nation, July 9, 2011, has a population of 11,367,276 (worldpopulationreview.org). Since fighting broke out on December 15, about 500 are thought to have been killed and about 800 wounded.
Attacks by former vice president Riek Machar, who had been fired from his position this past July, against the South Sudan military and President Salva Kiir’s responses appear to have primarily resulted in tens of thousands of the civilian population left in desperate situations, many homeless with injuries and possibly thousands of orphans.
One of the more alarming attacks was the one that occurred on Dec. 20 in which 20 Dinka (a native ethnic group) were killed in an attack on a UN compound where they were sheltering from just such attacks. Despite this singular case, the UN and UN peacekeepers are and will be an indispensable element for a safe and secure South Sudan.
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Eighty-two percent of the South Sudanese population is Christian, 18% Islamic. Primary natural resources are copper, chromium ore, zinc, mica,
silver, gold and diamonds. One problem area (in which South Sudan is definitely not alone) is access to drinkable water.While it seems about half the population do have relatively easy access to water many, too many do not. This is a fundamental rights issue that people should bear in mind for everyone.
One way to help the situation is to donate to the UN, especially UNICEF, and also OXFAM: they have been working in both Sudan and South Sudan (as long as South Sudan has existed).
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