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Christian Aid assists civilians fleeing violence in South Sudan

January 17 2012 - Christian Aid has begun assisting civilians displaced by the recent spate of inter-communal violence in the remote town of Pipor in Jonglei state, South Sudan, and urges a swift end to escalating hostilities. The government in Juba has now declared Jonglei a ’humanitarian disaster area’ and has appealed for international assistance to help end the crisis.

'There can be no meaningful development or any sustainable nationhood unless fundamental issues which affect the essence of interdependence and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic communities in South Sudan are addressed,' says Yitna Tekaligne Country Manager, for Christian Aid, Sudan and South Sudan

As a member of ACT Alliance, Christian Aid is part of a coordinated response to the emergency in Pipor, with partner, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which are providing emergency food, clean water and tarpaulins and cooking sets. It also assisting wounded people and enhancing the on-going peace reconciliation work started by the Sudan Council of Churches and Archbishop Daniel Deng.

LWF is also working in concert with the UN and other NGOs on the ground – including ACT member Norwegian Church Aid – to meet the critical food, water, shelter and health needs of those displaced by the violence.

The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have been displaced by the latest round of armed conflict between two ethnic groups, the Lou Nuer and Murle. Most civilians needing assistance have been living in the bush for approximately two weeks – many without access to life-sustaining necessities.

This latest round of violence in Jonglei erupted last month following a series of cattle raids and child abductions. The longstanding tensions are fuelled by decades of underdevelopment and the proliferation of small arms in the state, the biggest in South Sudan.

The emergency in Jonglei is only the most recent example of several ongoing humanitarian challenges stemming from inter-communal and inter-ethnic conflict in the world’s youngest country, which officially gained statehood in July 2011.

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If you would like further information please contact Yitna Tekaligne on +249 999754744, +249 956236091, or +249 960112896 or email YTekaligne@christian-aid.org. Alternatively contact Emma Pomfret on 07554 024539 or email epomfret@christian-aid.org. 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950  

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of 100 churches and church-related organisations that work together inhumanitarian assistance and development.  Further details at http://www.actalliance.org 

2. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the lives they deserve.

3. Christian Aid has a vision, an end to global poverty, and we believe that vision can become a reality. Our report, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end poverty.  Details at http://www.christianaid.org.uk/Images/poverty-over-report.pdf

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit www.christianaid.org.uk