South Sudan remains in violent freefall as conflict between the country's military (SPLA) and rebel soldiers, led by Riek Machar, former Vice President of South Sudan (2011-2013), continues. Many people returned to inspect their homes in the south Sudanese town of Bor, many of which had been burned and looted in the fighting. Now the town is under siege again.
Many people have lost relatives to the conflict, as innocent civilians are often caught up in the crossfire between feuding political and ethnic groups. Unexploded landmines and grenades continue to litter the surrounding areas and make returning home even more dangerous. Explosive ordnance disposal teams search for unexploded weapons as part of a humanitarian mine action program.
The conflict, which began in the country’s capital city, Juba, quickly spread throughout the country. According to the UN’s latest report more than one million South Sudanese have been displaced since the conflict began in December - of these 293,000 have fled into neighbouring countries and 923,000 have been forced to seek refuge elsewhere in South Sudan. Thousands gather together in makeshift camps for safety. Others have fled into the bush and are surviving on wild foods.
Away from home and unable to farm their land to produce food or look after their livestock those displaced are reliant on donations, food, clean water, shelter materials and medicine supplies from international charities and national NGOs. Organisations such as the UK charity Christian Aid, which is working through the ACT Alliance, are helping support some of the most vulnerable. But the rainy season is fast approaching, during which up to two thirds of the country will be effectively cut off, making delivering relief much harder.
However, there is an even bigger threat looming. According to the UN Security Council an estimated seven million South Sudanese are now at risk of food insecurity this year. The continuing conflict has severely disrupted the country’s key planting season and, with hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people unable to produce their own food, it is extremely unlikely there will be enough food in storage to see them through the hunger season at the end of the year.
In pictures: South Sudan conflict
In pictures: South Sudan conflict
1/7 South Sudan
Four-month old Haida Majzub was born in the Ajuong Thok refugee camp inside South Sudan. The camp, in northern Unity State, hosts thousands of refugees from the Nuba Mountains, located across the nearby border with Sudan
2/7 South Sudan
A boy drinks water from a newly drilled well in an internally displaced persons camp in Aweng. The ACT Alliance is providing the displaced families a variety of support, including the drilling of this and other new wells
3/7 South Sudan
A woman carries some of the food and non-food items that she and other displaced people received in Kotobi
4/7 South Sudan
Anyuak Ring Deng and her five-year old daughter Arual sit under a tree in an internally displaced persons camp in Manangui
5/7 South Sudan
Andiru Gordon rolls a bicycle tire. The three-year old boy lost his father to the fighting that broke out in his home town of Bor in December 2013, and along with his mother and five siblings moved to a camp for internally displaced people and then eventually to live with relatives in the town of Mundri
6/7 South Sudan
Rachel Abduk holds dried grass she cut to use as a roof for a temporary shelter in a camp for displaced people in Melijo, near that country's border with Uganda. She fled fighting around Bor, in Jonglei State, in December 2013, during which her husband and five children were killed. Yet she and other displaced persons have not been warmly welcomed to this region of Eastern Equatoria State, where two earlier waves of displaced people in the 1980s and 1990s have left relations tense between the newcomers, who are Dinka, and the largely Ma'adi residents around the city of Nimule. The ACT Alliance is helping the displaced families and the host communities affected by their presence, and is supporting efforts to reconcile the two groups
7/7 South Sudan
A girl fills a container with muddy water in the Ajuong Thok Refugee Camp