April 16, 2014 (BOR) – The US government’s humanitarian agency USAID has pledged to continue support for hundreds of thousands of people in critical need due to the ongoing crisis in South Sudan crisis.
- USAID’s Jeremy Konyndyk speaks to journalist Jacob Achiek in Bor, the capital of South Sudan’s Jonglei state, during a visit to the region (ST)
Speaking to the media in Jonglei capital Bor on Wednesday, USAID’s director of foreign disaster assistance, Jeremy Konyndyk, said his government had provided substantial assistance to South Sudanese people since a political power struggle between president Salva Kir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, erupted in violence in mid-December last year.
During his visit, Konyndyk visited displaced camp in Lakes state’s Mingkaman and Bor, also holding discussions with government representatives on the humanitarian situation in the country.
The US government is among the leading donors to the South Sudan crisis.
“The US government has already provided a great deal of support to South Sudan to address this humanitarian crisis since 15 December. We are providing millions and millions of dollars for the activities in Mingkaman and some activities here in [Bor],” said Konyndyk.
Konyndyk said USAID is currently providing assistance to people in both government and rebel-controlled areas, but said accessibility remained a major hurdle in delivering relief supplies.
“We are providing aid to people who are in serious need no matter who controls the area,” he said.
Konyndyk has called on both the government and rebel forces to lay down their arms and seriously engage in peace talks to resolve their differences non-violently, adding that a full-scale humanitarian intervention could only be conducted if a ceasefire was in place.
“This conflict should stop immediately. Both the government and the rebels should lay down guns and engaged seriously in the peace talk to resolve their differences peacefully not violently. This is only way to resolve humanitarian situation,” he said.
Jonglei was the scene of brutal fighting after violence in the capital spread to other areas, with much of the capital destroyed and about 100,000 people fleeing across the Nile to Mingkaman.
The influx of internally displaced people has seen the population on the tiny town on the White Nile swell significantly.
Conditions at the camps remains extremely basic, with many of the new arrivals lacking adequate shelter or regular sources of clean water and food.
Almost one million people have been displaced by the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, with thousands fleeing to neighbouring countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
International aid agencies have issued stark warnings, saying South Sudan is facing a humanitarian catastrophe and is edging closer to famine.
The UN says that 1.1 million people have so far been reached with humanitarian assistance, but almost five million people remain in need.
Aid agencies have so far struggled to raise funds to meet humanitarian needs in the country, with donor fatigue and minimal press coverage of the conflict blamed for the poor response.