AN estimated 400,000 people have died in South Sudan since political tensions between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar led to the start of civil war in 2013 – two years after independence from Sudan.
A fragile peace deal signed in September 2018 brought a few months of relief as fighting largely subsided across the country. But since the start of 2019, violence has escalated between government forces and rebels who refuse to accept the agreement.
Conflict began in South Sudan in December 2013 after political in-fighting between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar escalated, soon including other opposition groups and spreading beyond the capital. The conflict has seen armed militias aligned along ethnic lines engaged in combat and attacking civilians en masse.
In the last five years, it’s estimated that nearly 400,000 people have died: at least half from conflict, the other half from hunger and disease. At the same time 1.9 million others have been internally displaced, and more than 2.4 million live as refugees in neighbouring countries that include Uganda, Ethiopia, and Sudan; the vast majority are women and children.
The economy and infrastructure are decimated: half of the 12-13 million population need humanitarian assistance and 4.5 million people are displaced, either within the country or abroad.
Around 19,000 children are involved with armed groups, and the country has the world’s highest proportion of children out of school, according to USAID.