April 12, 2014 (JUBA) - Immediate action and support is urgently need to save thousands of South Sudanese severely affected by the country’s ongoing conflict, development partners resolved on Saturday.
- Thousands have been killed and more than one million displaced since conflict broke out almost four months ago, in the worst violence to erupt post-secession (AFP)
The appeal came during a ministerial meeting attended by heads of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the European Union (EU) Commissioner for International Cooperation,Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
“We are here today to sound the alarm for South Sudan,” said Valerie Amos, the UN humanitarian chief who co-chaired the Humanitarian Ministerial Meeting with USAID’s Administrator, Rajiv Shah and EU Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva.
“The effects of the conflict are significant– millions of people have been affected, cities have been destroyed, the economy has collapsed and food production has been devastated,” added Amos, further stressing that, “We fear a serious food and nutrition crisis in the next few months if the situation doesn’t improve soon.”
The leaders, during the ministerial gathering, also issued calls for action on South Sudan urging an immediate end to the fighting, underscored the need for humanitarian funding over the next three months to help people cope with the crisis, and demanded that all parties to the conflict respect the people of South Sudan and abide by International Humanitarian Law.
“This declaration is a wake-up call toprevent a deeper catastrophe from unfolding in South Sudan,” said Shah.
“Today, indicators tell us that South Sudan is on the brink of famine, and it’s clear that the world must now do more to address this crisis,” he added.
Violence broke out in the world’s youngest nation mid-last year leaving over a million people displaced within the country, according to the UN. An additional 280,000 people are reportedly seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
"We all celebrated with the world’s newest nation when South Sudan became independent. Less than three years later, we are witnessing a humanitarian disaster of appalling proportions," said Georgieva.
"It is innocent civilians who are paying the highest price for what has happened.,”We need to stand by them, while doing everything we can to get their leaders to put an end to a conflict that is wrecking lives and livelihoods across South Sudan," she added.
Already millions of people are reportedly at risk of severe food insecurity, conflict and a funding gap of nearly $800 million continue to affect emergency aid efforts.
There are fears of possible disaster as the rainy season looms with UN agencies and humanitarian partners warning that heavy rains and flooding could put a serious strain on their operations and further limit their access to people in need.
Meanwhile, the United States, remains the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to South Sudan after announcing an additional $83 million in assistance on 25 March.
The latest allocation, US officials say, brings to more than $411 million its overall assistance to those affected by the South Sudanese crisis since 2013.