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Alarm bells sound for South Sudan

July 18, 2013 at 9:24 AM

JUBA, South Sudan, July 18 (UPI) -- Violence in parts of South Sudan is so endemic that aid workers can't address the needs of the wounded, The International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The ICRC said renewed violence in Jonglei in South Sudan resulted in "hundreds of severe casualties." It said more than 175 people were treated for injuries at a field hospital there.

"The humanitarian situation remains a source of acute concern for the ICRC," Melker Mabeck, head of the ICRC delegation in Juba, said in a statement Wednesday. "The lack of roads and other infrastructure in the area makes it difficult, especially during the rainy season, to reach the wounded."

Five members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan were killed in April while on patrol in Jonglei, the country's largest state. The ICRC warned last month the state was on the verge of a humanitarian disaster.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said at least 100,000 civilians were cut off from emergency aid because of fighting in Jonglei. She said she was "alarmed" by the crisis resulting from fighting between "multiple parties," including state and non-state actors.

"The fighting is threatening the lives of ordinary people and has reduced the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide urgently needed help," she said.

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