South Sudan is in a civil war after three years of independence

The Heat

South Sudan is a country in crisis. Three years after declaring its independence, a civil war has left thousands dead and forced more than a million people from their homes.

Once allies, Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan and Riek Machar, the Leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement are now embattled in a civil war in South Sudan.

The hardships for the people of South Sudan are startling. According to the United Nations, 50,000 children in South Sudan could starve to death by the end of the year if urgent supplies do not get through. The world’s youngest country could be on the brink of famine.

Just three years ago South Sudan celebrated its independence. Now President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice President Riek Machar are embroiled in a civil war. Thousands have died and more than a million people have been displaced. The United Nations warns this young country could be headed for the worst famine since that of Ethiopia in 1984.

Not far from the capital city, Juba, or the “Tomping Camp,” is a tent city run by the United Nations. Some 15,000 South Sudanese now live in these make-shift tents and receive water from tanker trunks. They are just a fraction of the 1.5 million people displaced by civil war.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the war between the Dinka tribe loyal to President Salva Kiir and the Neur ethnic group that supports ousted Vice President Riek Machar.

Human rights groups say both sides have committed widespread atrocities. The UN is building several new sites to house thousands of refugees and the Red Cross has started its first airdrops in nearly two decades to deliver food.

A new round of peace talks in Ethiopia is tentatively scheduled to begin Wednesday. However, many question whether the deep ethnic tensions can be resolved after the crumpling of two cease-fire deals, one in January and another in May.

The war is a far cry from the euphoria of three years ago, when both Kiir and Machar pledged to build a strong, united and prosperous nation after a decades-long fight for independence from Sudan.

South Sudan is in a civil war after three years of independence

South Sudan is in a civil war after three years of independence

South Sudan is a country in crisis. Three years after declaring its independence, a civil war has left thousands dead and forced more than a million people from their homes.

From joy and hope to desperation and starvation, South Sudan’s promising future holds on by a thread, with the hope its leaders can bring the country back from catastrophe. This week’s scheduled talks will be vital to stave off a looming famine in South Sudan.

UNICEF says food scarcity brought on by the civil war has already affected some 4 million South Sudanese. Relief organizations say food stocks are running low and the start of the rainy season has dashed hopes that farmers could plant enough crops to feed themselves.

The Heat was joined by Udo Janz. Janz is the New York Director of the UN Relief Agency.

Udo Janz on the current situation in South Sudan

Udo Janz on the current situation in South Sudan

The Heat was joined by Udo Janz. Janz is the New York Director of the UN Relief Agency.

More than a million people have fled their homes across South Sudan since fighting erupted last December. Thousands have been killed in a conflict that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Riek Machar. Even so, the biggest threat to the people could be food shortages.

The Heat was joined by author and filmmaker, Robert Young Pelton. In February, he and his team traveled to South Sudan to document the civil war. The Heat was also joined by John Gachie.  Gachie is a media consultant and foreign and security policy analyst.

Interview of Robert young Pelton and John Gachie on the South Sudan civil war

Interview of Robert young Pelton and John Gachie on the South Sudan civil war

More than a million people have fled their homes across South Sudan since fighting erupted last December. Thousands have been killed in a conflict that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his Vice President Riek Machar. Even so, the biggest threat to the people could be food shortages. The Heat was joined by author and filmmaker, Robert Young Pelton. In February, he and his team traveled to South Sudan to document the civil war. The Heat was also joined by John Gachie. Gachie is a media consultant and foreign and security policy analyst.