Sarah John walked hundreds of miles with her four children (pictured) to reach the Medicins Sans Frontier camps on the South Sudanese border with Kenya. Aged between two and seven, the children are among almost one million refugees fleeing conflict in the world’s newest nation.
An uneasy alliance between the President and Vice-President broke in July when the VP was dismissed. Violence broke out in mid-December, and reports of armed soldiers on the streets signaled an end to peace. A ceasefire declared on January 23rd has not lessened the violence.
UNHCR estimated this month there are “over 739,000 people … internally displaced and a further 196,921 sheltering in neighbouring countries” because of the escalating conflict.
A senior MSF medic told an audience in Dublin earlier this month that the situation can now be described as a crisis.
Retired British surgeon Professor Paul McMaster worked in South Sudan for a month from Christmas, joining over 3,000 local and international staff on the ground.
‘It was just after midnight when they called me to see a young girl of about 12 who had collapsed. Sitting on the floor next to her, was her seven or eight year old brother.
‘She had walked three or four days from the North, without food or water, her father had stayed behind and they had been separated from their mother. Her only carer was her brother. It was Christmas morning,’ he said.