South Sudan, riven by conflict and famine, has again canceled celebrations for its independence day on July 9. Last year, the government also canceled celebrations because of a lack of funds.
“We are not celebrating… because our situation does not require us to celebrate at a time when there are people in need of these funds,” government spokesman Michael Makuei told news agencies.
Two years after splitting from Sudan in 2011 to become the world’s newest nation, South Sudan became embroiled in a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced at least 3.7 million. Famine, caused in large part by the conflict, threatens the lives of 7.5 million people. According to the UN refugee agency, South Sudan is now the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
South Sudan’s oil-dependent economy is on the brink of collapse as it faces hyperinflation, a shortage of dollars, as well as slashed oil output. Its largest bank, the Kenya-based KCB Group, has now closed several branches. Despite the humanitarian crisis, in March it has raised work permits fees for professional foreign aid workers to $1,000 from $100.