UN preps to send aid to South Sudan after ceasefire deal

By Kyle Johnson,

The United Nations is preparing to send aid to hard-hit areas in South Sudan after the government and rebel forces agreed to a ceasefire.

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar met face-to-face and agreed on a ceasefire deal on Friday at the urging of international officials, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, reports CNN. The deal halts a violent five-month period in the country that has resulted in thousands dying and more than a million people being displaced.

Kerry said the new ceasefire deal "could mark a breakthrough for the future" of South Sudan, which is the world's youngest country.

Despite the signing of the ceasefire deal on Friday, the UN isn't keen on jumping straight into action just yet as a deal put together in January fell apart within days.

An official noted that should no fighting between the government and rebels arise within 24 hours of the ceasefire deal, supplies would begin to go out.

According to Reuters, no reports of fighting had surfaced since the ceasefire, but officials cautioned that news of any action in remote areas of South Sudan would be delayed.

UN humanitarian coordinator Toby Lanzer said the UN is ready "to load barges with life-saving aid and transport it to key destinations such as Bentiu and Malakal."

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