JUBA South Sudan
(Xinhua) -- The UN Mission in South
Sudan (UNMISS) on Wednesday appealed for more funding to save a
million people on the brink of famine affecting more than
UNMISS Deputy Special Representative of
the Secretary General (DSRSG) Eugene Owusu told journalist in
the capital Juba fewer than 30 percent of the 1.6 billion U.S.
dollars needed for humanitarian response is available to tackle
the burgeoning humanitarian situation in the war-torn country.
"The total envelope of resources required to deliver
assistance and protection to the 7.5 million people in need in
this country is stipulated at 1.6 billion dollars.
"To date we have been able to mobilize under 30 percent of
the total requirement that is needed," he told journalists in
"Funding is urgently needed, particularly to scale up the
famine response, to procure, preposition and deliver vital
supplies in the dry season and we must take urgent action to
avert further catastrophe in the month ahead," Owusu added.
This follows the February declaration of famine by the UN in
the Mayendit and Leer Counties of the northern Unity state where
100,000 people are starving, and in March 8 aid workers were
captured by rebels and food supplies looted.
"The famine was declared after the humanitarian response plan
was launched, so clearly there is fragmentation of resources,"
"We should be careful not to have a hyper focus on famine
because the famine currently affects 100,000 people.
"We have a million people who are on the brink, so a lot of
energies should be in investing in assistance to poor people who
are on the brink that is what we are focusing on," Owusu said.
He added that humanitarian response is currently focused on
scaling up food assistance, nutrition, health provision, water
and sanitation (WASH) and enhancing livelihood opportunities for
those in need and large scale displacements in Kodok, Abrok in
Fashoda County of Upper Nile state.
"First the guns have to fall silent and cessation of
hostilities must hold.
"While humanitarians will continue to do all that is possible
to alleviate suffering of lives the fact remains unless, the
guns fall silent the humanitarian situation will continue to
deteriorate," Owusu warned.
He also said that the increasing insecurity and access
denials by the warring parties amid killings of aid workers is
impeding humanitarian operations.
"While humanitarian workers in this country remain ready to
scale up efforts, all parties to the conflict must ensure that
their operating environment is conducive to the delivery of aid
by ensuring free, safe and unhindered access to all areas of
this country especially to avert spread of famine," he said.
Owusu also revealed that humanitarian workers are
increasingly operating in a difficult, dangerous environment and
are paying the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
"Over the weekend the humanitarian community was compelled to
relocate 60 humanitarian workers from parts of Jonglei following
serious violence and escalation in insecurity there," he said.
"And only a week ago we lost three contractors working for
one of the humanitarian agencies in Wau," he added.
At least 82 aid workers have been killed since December 2013,
including recent killings of six aid workers in an ambush attack
on the road between Juba and Pibor area.
Owusu further added that aid workers are often harassed
across the country and humanitarian compounds and supplies have
been looted and vandalized most recently in Yirol, Jonglei, Kajo
Keji and Yei in Central Equatoria, Wau Shiluk in Upper Nile and
Mayendit in Unity state.
"Humanitarians face repeated challenges to reach people in
dire need as a result of insecurity and access denials.
"The biggest part of the challenges that we have to deal with
is not at the national level but rather at sub-national level,"
He, however, commended recent efforts by authorities to
remove blockades on humanitarian access.
"The humanitarian community welcomes commitments made by the
President and minister of humanitarian affairs to remove
obstacles including to minimizing transaction costs to
humanitarian workers," he said.
UN humanitarian expert:
Somalia, South Sudan "in peril" of famine
UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) --
The head of operations for the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Tuesday said northeast
Africa is in the grip of a "very fast-moving crisis" that is
putting both Somalia and South Sudan "in peril" of severe food
While Somalia was managing for the moment, South Sudan was
not, John Ging, director of the Operational Division of the UN
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said
at a press conference here.
He has just returned from an emergency tour of the
famine-threatened region and briefed reporters at UN
headquarters in New York.
"This is a very fast-moving crisis," Ging said, referring to
"Both Somalia and South Sudan are part of a group of
countries that are in peril of famine and in the case of South
Sudan famine has already been declared."
"There is a catastrophic food insecurity situation in both of
these countries," he said, adding 6.2 million people in Somalia
are "in need of humanitarian assistance and because of the
fast-moving situation with the crisis there we have also got an
outbreak of cholera where more than 25,000 cases are being
"We also have threat of measles and 571,000 people displaced
since last November, due to the drought and their needing to
move from where they are to gain assistance," Ging said.
"The protection issues are massive."
He said Somalia is a very dangerous environment for the
population because of conflict and humanitarian workers are have
problems gaining access to victims, "particularly in and to the
al-Shabab controlled areas."
"It is surely a race again time," Ging said, complimenting
government participation, but warning:
"This crisis is going to continue to grow."
In South Sudan, "we have already declared famine, 100,000
people are already suffering from famine in two counties and
another 1 million people very close to being declared as
affected by famine," he said.
While Ging said that there already has been a large
humanitarian operation in the world’s youngest country for a
number of years, it is "one of the most dangerous places for
humanitarian aid workers," with 24 of them killed this year,
nine of them last month.
"We are appealing to all in power for help," Ging said.
"Humanitarian colleagues must be respected."
He said 7.5 million people across South Sudan are now in need
of humanitarian assistance while 3.6 million people have been
But Ging said that unlike in Somalia where there has been "a
scale up on the funding side," it’s not the same situation in
South Sudan, where only 27 percent of the 1.6-billion U.S.
dollar appeal has been met, or only 438 million U.S. dollars
"That really leaves our operations very vulnerable," Ging
"So, in the one country where we already have famine we don’t
humanitarian coordination centre to curb droughts
MOGADSHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
The Somalia government on Wednesday launched a National
Humanitarian Coordination Centre to help manage disasters and
curb recurrent drought in the Horn of Africa nation.
The centre which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi
Mohamed Guled called on international community to increase
funding and expand humanitarian programs to the drought-stricken
"We call upon all our partners and UN agencies to fully
engage with us in the making of systems that could better help
us manage disasters and minimize the impact of such recurrent
drought in Somalia," Guled said during the launch in Mogadishu.
The launch of the centre comes a time when millions of
Somalis are suffering from a severe drought affecting millions
across the country.
With almost half of the Somali population in need of
assistance, including 330,000 children who are acutely
malnourished, the UN chief reiterated an appeal for 825 million
U.S. dollars for the support of 5.5 million people for six
Guled said the government has done its best to respond to the
drought situation and immediately engaged with the existing
National Drought Committee that had in place the necessary
strategy and mechanism to help alleviate the plight of the
distressed population at their localities.
"As you are all aware, Somalia is prone to recurrent drought
with documented irregular poor pattern of rainy seasons since
2014 as being the driver of the current drought," Guled said.
According to the National Drought Committee over 6.8 million
people across Somalia have been directly affected by the drought
with nearly 1.8 million people in dire need of immediate
emergency relief, but Guled warned that the number could top up
to over 2.5 million people if they don’t respond urgently.
"As a result of the push-pull factors associated with similar
crisis, we are witnessing a massive increase in IDP numbers into
urban areas already strained with earlier displacement
compounded with the lack of adequate resources to deal with such
enormous influx," he said.
"This demands more coherent and immediate effort to deal with
the aftermath with the urgency it demands," the deputy PM added.
Guled said the government is extremely concerned about the
impact of the crisis, particularly in areas that are
experiencing water shortages and do not have even the facilities
to store water.
"Of specific concern are the reports we received from
affected communities who are located close to the dried up river
where all the nearby boreholes have dried up as well.
In many parts of the country, caravans of destitute families
have moved out of their localities to seek food and water in
other areas by foot having lost their entire livestock and in
some case vulnerable family members on the long trek," he said.
UN backs Somalia’s efforts
to tackle drought and insecurity
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
The United Nations and international community have backed
Somalia’s government and the federal member states for agreeing
to jointly fight insecurity, drought and corruption.
In a joint statement released on Monday night in Mogadishu,
the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, the
AMISOM, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
and other partners lauded the political process the leaders
achieved during their consultations in Mogadishu.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for
Somalia Michael Keating welcomed in particular the agreement
reached on the key points of Somali national security
"This agreement marks a major milestone for Somalia.
"It is a cornerstone of the federal state building process
and is a basis upon which strengthened security can be built,"
He said the National Security Council chaired by the
president, whose members include regional leaders, will now have
a critical role in driving progress.
Keating said the international community is committed to
supporting the government’s priorities including drought
response and recovery, increasing revenues and fighting
corruption, and a comprehensive approach to security.
During two-day consultations which ended in Mogadishu on
Sunday, led by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and
other senior officials, the political leaders agreed to aid
Somalia avert a potential famine.
The leaders expressed concern over the deteriorating
situation of the drought, which has affected the lives of many
people and livestock and caused extensive displacement.
"The leaders collectively appreciated the rescue efforts
spearheaded by Somali citizens, both in national and
international levels and as well the international community,"
the leaders said in a joint statement.
The leaders recognize the urgent need for strengthening the
efforts to save the lives of the needy, and have agreed upon
that a clear plan to avoid repeated drought is needed.
The leaders also agreed upon that the plan for the election
process in the year 2020, and that it should be started soon and
"The leaders agreed on enhancing the country’s economy,
income, job creation, encouraging investment and trade and as
well the development of the country’s economic infrastructure,"