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Forgotten Crisis: Why Aren't We Talking About South Sudan?

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Reports of continued fighting in South Sudan are worrying. But even more distressing is how little attention this humanitarian crisis is generating.

Over the past few weeks public attention has centred on the crisis in Ukraine, the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the fate of flight MH370. In the shadow of these events the conflict in South Sudan risks being forgotten.

Let us not underestimate the scale of the crisis in the world's newest nation. It has been four months since fighting began in Juba with latest reports estimating that 958,000 people have now been displaced by the crisis, 249,000 of whom have crossed into neighbouring countries.

But few people know about the suffering endured by hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis.

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Two weeks ago the British Red Cross launched an appeal for South Sudan. It is going well and our supporters and the public are responding generously. But many of the people we have approached have told us they simply didn't know how bad it was.

This situation may be exacerbated by the onset of the rainy season which brings with it the increased risk of flooding and disease if water and sanitation facilities are not improved.

And if the fighting continues, vast areas of the countryside will become inaccessible. Already, aid agencies such as the World Food Programme have resorted to airdropping food aid due to insecurity and other obstacles.

Compounding the situation is the widespread displacement of people, which means that the South Sudanese - who rely so much on subsistence farming - will not be able to sow seeds or harvest crops. In short, this conflict is set to have severe repercussions on the country's food production.

The number of those in desperate need continues to grow and aid agencies have sounded the alarm. This conflict needs to be higher up the news agenda, more people need to know what is happening, and more needs to be done to help.

At the Red Cross our priority now is to help the huge numbers of people affected by the fighting in South Sudan, who have been left in an extremely vulnerable position, in the hope that one day a peaceful resolution can be found, and this, the world's newest country, can continue on its path to nationhood.

To support the South Sudan Crisis appeal, please visit: www.redcross.org.uk/southsudan

Around the Web

South Sudan travel advice - GOV.UK

UK in South Sudan (UKinSouthSudan) on Twitter

UN: Over one million displaced by South Sudan conflict

Aid bureaucracy, suspicion threaten to deepen South Sudan crisis - MSF

Top UN officials see severe hunger in South Sudan