JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) --
UN top relief official on Sunday called for immediate
and unhindered access to South Sudanese in need of aid and urgent
funding for the humanitarian appeal.
Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
and Emergency Relief Coordinator said the UN urgently need
additional funding to scale up, sustain and expand life-saving
assistance and protection across all of South Sudan.
“We desperately need the fighting to stop. We need calm to prevail
now so that we can consistently reach people in dire need, and
prevent further catastrophe,” O’Brien said in a statement issued in
Juba after ending a two-day visit to South Sudan, two weeks after
localized famine was declared in Mayendit and Leer counties.
He demanded immediate full and unimpeded humanitarian access and
reminded parties to the conflict that International Humanitarian Law
must be respected and civilians protected.
During his two-day visit, the UN relief official also met with
humanitarian partners and government officials. “The root cause of
this suffering is conflict,” he said, reflecting what he stressed in
“People have been displaced, brutalized and raped. They have been
attacked when they sought out assistance. This must stop, and it
must stop now,” he said.
The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is rapidly escalating, and
hunger and malnutrition have reached new disturbing levels.
Fighting, insecurity and lack of access to aid have left some
100,000 people facing starvation and a further 1 million are on the
brink of famine.
More than 3.4 million people have been displaced since the conflict
began in December 2013, including 1.9 million internally displaced
and more than 1.5 million who have fled to neighbouring countries as
During the visit, the top relief official met with people who had
fled fighting, fear and famine in Leer and Mayendit, as well as
hunger and insecurity in Lakes.
By July, the humanitarian community estimates that 5.5 million will
be severely food insecure. “This is only the beginning of the lean
season and, sadly, things could get much, much worse in the months
ahead,” said O’Brien.
O’Brief said aid workers continue to face multiple obstacles to the
delivery of humanitarian assistance across South Sudan, including
active hostilities, access denials and bureaucratic impediments.
Frequently, they have to be relocated due to insecurity, escalating
tensions or directives from authorities, including recently from
Humanitarian compounds and supplies have been repeatedly looted,
most recently during clashes in Mayendit, Jonglei and Kajo-Keji
“We have a plan. We are already responding. We are ready to scale
up. Now we need the access and the funds to save even more lives,”