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Photo Essay: Faces of the world’s newest country

 INSP 04 July 2019

In June, photographer Simon Murphy and journalist Danielle Batist set off to South Sudan to witness the last days of Africa’s biggest nation. They spent time in returnee settlements, experienced chaos caused by fuel shortages, listened to the life stories of people with disabilities and visited a leper colony. They documented it all for the Street News Service. (421 Words) - By Danielle Batist

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School children during PE class in Mundri.Photo: Simon Murphy

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School children during a PE session in Mundri, Western Equatoria State.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Road outside the village of Lui, Western Equatoria State.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Rubbish dump outside Juba.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Small scale farmers on the road to Yei.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Evening bathing in the Nile, Juba.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Oldest patient in leper colony in Rokwe, outside Juba.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Petrol seller during the fuel shortages in Juba, 9 June.Photo: Simon Murphy

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Private security company patrols petrol station in Juba during fuel shortages.Photo: Simon Murphy


To download all portrait pictures click here an for landscape pictures click here.

On July 9, the South will split from the North and become the 193rd member of the United Nations. With independence finally within reach, many South Sudanese are hopeful for the future of their new country. Despite on-going disputes over land and oil in the border areas, South Sudan's president Salva Kiir is determined to avoid any actions that might jeopardise long-longed independence. His party, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), has promised democratic governance and development, but the challenges are huge.

The legacies of decades of war have left the country in a desperate state. A report released by the World Bank in 2010 stated that 85 per cent of citizens of South Sudan live below the poverty line, compared to 46 per cent in the north. Life expectancy nationwide is 58.5 years, but the unfair distribution of wealth and the consistent lack of development in the south mean that the real figure for the new nation is even bleaker.

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When the war came to an end in 2005, it went into the history books as Africa's longest and bloodiest civil war. According to UN estimates, 2 million people have been killed in the conflict, and more than 4 million have been forced to flee their homes.

In a country that has to start from scratch on all levels, adequate government support will be a long way off. Charities and churches in the meantime make small steps to improve the life of some of the nation's most vulnerable. Caritas is one of the organisations supporting people with all sorts of disabilities, from polio, leprosy and blindness to landmine injuries. The fight for independence has come to an end, but for many, the struggle is far from over.

How to help

To make a donation to Caritas Scotland's work in Sudan and around the world, visit www.sciaf.org.uk or contact your local Caritas office.

 

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