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From post-conflict recovery and state building to a renewed humanitarian emergency: A brief reflection on South Sudan
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Since December 2013 – only two and a half years after it became an independent country – South Sudan has been mired in a deep political, military, and humanitarian crisis. Heavy fighting erupted on 15 December between members of armed forces in Juba, the capital. Tensions and power struggles within the leadership ranks of the leading political party of South Sudan – the SPLM (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) – had preceded the fighting. The armed violence quickly spread to other states in South Sudan and has brought human rights violations, death, and destruction to Juba and to Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity States. Within a few weeks, several thousand South Sudanese were killed. As of mid-June 2014, about 1.5 million South Sudanese are displaced either within South Sudan or as refugees in neighbouring countries; 94,000 South Sudanese are sheltering in ‘Protection of Civilian’ locations protected by the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS); and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs projects that around 3.8 million South Sudanese need assistance in 2014 – only half of whom are being reached. A nationwide food security analysis led by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) in collaboration with development partners in June declared large parts of Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile States to be in a humanitarian emergency, and the President himself has raised the spectre of famine later in the year.