September 30, 2016 (BENTIU) - Nearly 30 aid workers have pulled out of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State as security in the area continues deteriorating, the head of the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA), said.
- The map of Unity state
Last week, three UN agencies and other non-governmental entities moved their staff out of the state, shortly before fighting broke out between government forces and fighters loyal to former First Vice President, Riek Machar.
The head of OCHA, Ian Ridley, said aid agencies have suspended operations in the area since their workers operate in a very dangerous environment in South Sudan.
“Aid workers have been evacuated from Jezeera and Nhialdiu because of insecurity and I think the number being evacuated is at least 29. Even yesterday aid workers were evacuated from Buaw,” he said.
There are also reports that the Danish Refugee Council also withdrew seven staffs, working on food security and protection in Jazeera.
Ridley acknowledged that many people are now left without life-saving humanitarian assistance, but emphasized that the aid workers would return to the area as soon as the security situation improves.
Last week, government forces and rebels loyal to Machar clashed in an area about 8km from Unity state’s towns of Bentiu and Rubkona.
The incident, Ridley said, forced hundreds into neighboring countries.
“The number of people being displaced is increasing other countries situation than refugees from South Sudan include the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia for example 40,000 refugees have arrived in DRC in August and September,” he noted.
However, the OCHA says the conflict has displaced nearly 1.6 million peoples and is putting a million children at risk of severe malnutrition.
“Unfortunately areas of the country that were stable in terms of food security are now not stable so almost 5 million people are severely food insecure caught severe a million children severely malnourished so we are facing those impact of the conflict and large part of the country significant underline problem of hunger and malnutrition,” the head of OCHA said in an interview with Voice of America on Friday.
OCHA, however, said despite efforts by the UN and other aid agencies to help the thousands of internally displaced persons, South Sudan needs more funds for families affected by the conflict.
“We have about 57% of the funding. Overall we need $1.3bn and we have we about 90 million of the 1.3bn. So despite all those constraint in term of funding and access to aid agencies to do work, they can to deal with needs of those displaced by fighting across the whole of the country,” he stressed.