Agencies Warn Delayed Funding May Worsen Humanitarian Crisis

Toby Lanzer, the UN Chief Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan says early funding will help aid agencies to preposition relief items that are not accessible during the rainy season. [Gurtong]

The agencies warn that delays may likely worsen the situation ahead of the months of rains. Agencies have requested a funding of $1.27billion US Dollars to feed over three million people in need of food and other basic needs in the country.

UN Chief Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanza however, said only 20% [$748million] of the needed funding has been released.

“6, 8, 10 weeks before rain season and if we don’t have enough supplies when this country (South Sudan) does not have roads, a lot of lives willbe lost,” Jan Egeland, Secretary General of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned while speaking to press together with Lanzerin Juba.

According to the agencies 3.7million people in South Sudan now are in need of food items and other basic needs.

THe said: “The displacement is continuing still in several parts of the country, an indication that more Internally Displaced People (IDPS) are still expected to join the already thousands camping in the UN separate camps in the country.”

So far 710,600 estimated people have been affected by the crisis since it broke out last year in mid-December last year according to the United Nation Office of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

UNOCHA said 75,400 are estimated to be camping in UN separate camps and 171,000 people are estimated to have been displaced into neighboring countries around South Sudan.

South Sudan has one of the poorest infrastructures in the world. There is hardly access to several parts of the country where worst of the violence is taking place. Reaching such places by road especially when the rain season begins will be difficult.

Lanzer expressed worries that, most of the funding when released late during the rainy season will have to go to logistics rather than food and other items since most of the areas will have to be accessed by air.

He said early funding may better preposition relief items to key areas ahead of the rain season.

Horrendous Scene ‘Malakal’

Lanzer, after a visit to Malakal capital on Wednesday and returning to Juba, described the situation on ground as “distressful” as dead bodies still lie on ground unburied. “Vultures” he said are feasting on the littering corpses as fighting still continuesin other parts of the capital.

Up on his visit, he said that “smoke can be seen rising in North West part of the city, Malakal, and that is evidence of ongoingviolence.” A week ago, Malakal had become one of the worst battle grounds between the government forces and the rebels. Tens of people according to several sources are reported to have been killed and thousands were displaced.

Lanzer said there is “evidence” of people being “executed” during the heavy fighting.

The UN interim report released last week on violations uncovered during the over two months war in the country accused the warring parties of committing several crimes though both parties have denied. 

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