Jonglei Crisis Demands Strong International Action: Monitors

Murle women awaiting food aid in Pibor towm. [PHOTO: EU Mission]

SSP, a Not On Our Watch funded organization said internally displaced persons face massive survival challenges as the height of the wet season approaches.

In its report released yesterday, SSP satellite imagery from May and June 2013 documented destruction and abandonment of residential areas and civilian infrastructure in Pibor and Boma counties of Jonglei as a result of escalated violence.

The tension in Jonglei last month increased following ethnic clashes between tribes in the State. Over 100,000 people were reported to have been displaced.

Satellite Sentinel Project and Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast has called for the government of South Sudan to act swiftly to ease ethnic tensions, end rebel violence, hold accountable its own forces for abuses, and allow civilians access to emergency aid.

For its part, the international community must redouble efforts to get aid to the displaced and support efforts to bring an end to inter-communal and rebel hostilities, John added.

These satellite images offer a first glimpse of a mounting humanitarian crisis that has largely been unfolding in the dark due to impassable roads, Enough Project Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst Akshaya Kumar stated.

“Clashes between the South Sudanese army and the Khartoum-backed Yau Yau militia have emptied towns in Jonglei state and pushed an estimated 100,000 people into the bush during the height of the rainy season,” Kumar said.

“Afraid of reprisals and abuse, Murle civilians displaced in Pibor are reluctant to return to their homes, complicating a humanitarian response already crippled by a lack of air assets and restrictions on aid agencies that have come under attack,” he added.

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Enough Project provides field research, policy context, and communications strategy. DigitalGlobe provides imagery from its constellation of satellites and geospatial analysis from the DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. 

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