With recent violence having flared up in South Sudan killing hundreds and forcing thousands to flee their homes, many are questioning if there is hope in the near future for peace and stability in the newest nation on earth.
South Sudan celebrated its independence this past July after a decades-long struggle to separate from its northern counterpart. However, the separation has been wrought with challenges and just last month intertribal violence broke out between members of two South Sudanese rival tribes in the Jonglei state.
The violence is thought to have killed hundreds and has put as many as 60,000 villagers in desperate need for food, shelter, and emergency assistance.
The Juba-based South Sudanese government declared the Jonglei state a “humanitarian disaster area” appealing for international humanitarian aid while urging the two feuding groups to reconcile and return women and children abducted during the outbreaks of violence.
The United Nations has expressed its concern over the humanitarian situation in the country and on Thursday announced its launch of a wide scale effort to reach people in need of emergency assistance.
“We are concentrating on five locations of which four we can only reach by air. Three of these locations have been burned to the ground,” U.N. humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan told Reuters news agency.
South Sudan was embroiled in Africa’s longest-running civil war with the north and prior to gaining independence activists around the world warned that the country would be rife with problems.
Indeed, South Sudan is set to face many challenges in the future including managing inter-ethnic strife and building a state in an extremely underdeveloped economy rife with natural resources. However, hope for the newest nation in the world persists.
“I am very optimistic about the future of my country,” Ger Duany, a former child soldier from Sudan who now works as a model and actor in New York City, wrote on CNN.
“We all feel a strong sense of ownership when we think of The Republic of South Sudan because everybody sacrificed and suffered to get us where we are now,” he added.