The mood of despair was evident in his words as the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs wrapped up a two-day visit to South Sudan.
“Ordinary people are suffering on an unimaginable scale. The peace process has so far produced nothing. The cessation of hostilities is a fiction. The economy has collapsed,” Mark Lowcock said in the capital, Juba, on Wednesday.
“Belligerents use scorched-earth tactics, murder and rape as weapons of war. All these are gross violations of international law. Seven million people need humanitarian assistance in 2018. And things are simply getting worse.”
Five years of civil war in South Sudan have resulted in a humanitarian crisis affecting seven million people – that is, more than half of the country’s population – and left them in dire need of aid to survive.
Nancy Maring fled her hometown of Lainya three months ago due to fighting between government and opposition forces.
“The fighting is bad. They burn houses, they kill people,” she told Al Jazeera from Yei River state, to which she has fled for safety and aid.
“We ran away and now we are displaced.”
Yei River state was once the breadbasket of South Sudan. Nearly all who lived here farmed for a living.