August 3, 2015 (JUBA) – At least 6 million people in South Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance, with a quarter of a million children facing severe and acute malnutrition, a senior United Nations official has disclosed.
- UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien (UN Photo)
“Forced displacement remains a defining feature of the crisis, with some 1.6 million people internally displaced, and more than 900,000 having fled to neighboring countries, including more than 60,000 who fled to Uganda in July alone,” Stephen O’Brien, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs said Wednesday.
Last month, violence in the South Sudan capital, killed nearly 300 people lives, as rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with those allied to Riek Machar.
According to O’Brien, South Sudan remains one of the most fragile nations in the world.
“The humanitarian response plan for 2016 is only 40 percent funded, leaving a gap of $765 million. More funding is urgently required for the scale-up of the response across the country,” said the official, who recently visited South Sudan.
The UN emergency humanitarian coordinator also condemned attacks on aid workers operating in South Sudan as well as seizure of assets belonging to humanitarian agencies, urging the country’s authorities to investigate and act against such matters.
“We humanitarians are here in South Sudan to save lives and for no other reason. Our task and demand by the UN and beyond is to impartially meet the urgent and severe humanitarian and protection needs of the millions of suffering people in this country,” he stressed.
At least 60,000 people have fled South Sudan’s recent violence in the capital city of Juba, bringing to nearly 900,000 the overall number of South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring nations since December 2013, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said.
However, with over 2.6 million of its citizens forcibly displaced, South Sudan reportedly ranks among countries with the highest levels of conflict-induced population displacement globally as an estimated half of the population rely on humanitarian aid.