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South Sudan: Young Nation at Risk

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Raby, 8 years old, at the transit center of Wau, Northern Bar el Ghazal, that welcomes the returnees from the North and the IDPs (internally displaced persons) who fled fighting in Abyei between the armed forces of Sudan and South Sudan. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Cattle camp of Bir-Diak of the Pakam clan of the Dinka tribe, Rumbek North country, Lakes State. During the civil war cattle keepers were forced to carry the weapons and ammunition for the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Since the peace agreement of 2005, it has been easy to obtain weapons left over from Sudan’s civil war. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Bir-Diak cattle camp of the Pakam clan of the Dinka tribe, Lakes State. The social structures of the pastoralist societies are based on the possession and successful retention of cattle. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Bir-Diak cattle camp of the Pakam clan of the Dinka tribe, Lakes State. Cattle keepers refused to surrender their weapons during the last disarmament program because they have to remain armed to defend themselves during cattle raids that cost many lives each year. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Sunday mass at the church of Gogrial in the Warab State. Southern Sudan is mainly Christian-animist. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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A mother with her child in the hospital of Pibor in Jonglei State. Maternal mortality rates in South Sudan are among the world’s highest. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Inside Juba’s prison. Rehabilitation of the prison is supported by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and is part of the capacity-building efforts in South Sudan. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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A young boy, with an amputated leg due to lack of care after being bitten by a snake, stands on the banks of the Gilo River, Jonglei State. Access to health care is a major challenge for South Sudan. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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A woman waiting for consultation at Aweil hospital, Northern Bahr-El-Ghazal State. South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world–with one in seven women likely to die due to pregnancy-related causes. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Students in a village school in Owachi, located next to the Nile, in the Upper Nile State. Women's literacy in South Sudan stands at 16 percent. A 15-year-old girl has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than of completing her education. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Before Sunday prayer at the Catholic Church of Mary in Abyei. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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Abdellah Kuma looks after his daughter Orchelim. She just had her right arm amputated. Her house at Al Buram in the Nuba Mountains in Southern Khordofan, Sudan, was bombarded by the SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces) while she was preparing breakfast for her family. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2011.

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From his desk, the shopkeeper of Geng Petroleum gas station observes his customers the day after the gas station opened. This is the first gas station owned by a Bentiu inhabitant, Unity State. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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The first day of the referendum on January 9, 2011. Bentiu inhabitants in Unity State stand in line at a polling station before voting. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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At the end of the day Martin Lou Lawrence, a mechanic who works on water pumps near the Nile River, looks at the last trucks which are filling up. Juba city, South Sudan's capital, has no running water system. Near Knoyo Konyo market, there is one filling station where 24 pumps fill 200 trucks a day with Nile River non-treated water in order to supply the city. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

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After a long journey in a bus, people returning to South Sudan from the north retrieve their personal effects in the trucks which brought them from Khartoum to Bentiu, the capital of Unity State. They came back to vote in the referendum. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2011.

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Sabrino Mayol and his son Blue, as well as the rest of the family, found shelter in a building next to the church of Mayan Abun, in the state of Warrap. They ran away from the fighting between the SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces) and the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army) in Abyei. Image by Cédric Gerbehaye. South Sudan, 2012.

Pulitzer Center grantee Cédric Gerbehaye photographs the fragile situation unfolding in South Sudan, as the newly independent state nears its one-year anniversary. Ongoing violence, fueled by tribal clashes and resource conflicts as well as cross-border attacks, continues to hinder development in one of the world's poorest countries.

These photographs are part of the Pulitzer Center's project Sudan In Transition, which extended work that Gerbehaye produced on a grant from the Magnum Emergency Fund in 2010. The slideshow was originally featured by Mother Jones.