UN Decries South Sudan’s Worsening Humanitarian Crisis

Toby Lanzer, UN’s humanitarian coordinator in south Sudan says out of the projected 1.27b required to address the current crises, only 36% has been realized. [ File]

UN’s Chief Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan Toby Lanzer said the hope for restoration of peace and stability appears far away as armed violence continues to rage on in several parts of the country. 

Since last week, fighting has broken out in South Sudan’s oil rich Unity State between government forces and rebels which continues to worsen the already precarious humanitarian crises in the country.

Lanzer expressed disappointment in both government and rebels for failing to respect the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoH) signed in January this year. 

Armed internal conflict broke late last year in South Sudan’s national capital, Juba and spread to strategic towns; Bor, Bentiu and Malakal, leading to death of thousands of people as about a million people have been displaced from their homes.  

Government had accused senior ex-government officials of a coup attempt led by ex- Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, but the accused have since denied it. 

Talks between the government and rebels aligned to Riek Machar, currently fighting the government, mediated by the East African Bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has yielded less fruits. 

“I feel a sense of outrage today,” Toby told press in Juba. “Violence is ongoing in Bentiu. I am outraged that there are hundreds of people reaching the UN base now in Bentiu.” 

A week ago, Lanzer said there were estimated 4,500 internally displaced persons at the UN compound in Bentiu. However, following the latest clashes that broke out last week, the number has doubled and more civilians are still seeking refuge at the UN compound.

Estimated nearly one million people have been affected by the crisis. And seven million people in the country are feared may experience hunger in South Sudan. 

Lanzer called on all South Sudanese leaders to deduce necessary measures in all corners on how to end the crisis, saying it is badly affecting the citizens.  
 With much rains expected in the upcoming months, the humanitarian coordinator expressed great concerns over the worsening humanitarian situation. 

He said of the $1.27billion required to manage the humanitarian situation in the country, only 36% has been realized.  He has called for a swift action from the donors to act “urgently” in an effort to better preposition aid in strategic locations before heavy rains make the roads inaccessible.

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