Sudan, S.Sudan on verge of humanitarian catastrophe

Aid must reach South Sudan by the end of April before the rainy season begins, UN says.

Sudan, S.Sudan on verge of humanitarian catastrophe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Avoiding the word "famine" for now, the head of humanitarian operations for the United Nations did not flinch in describing the situation in Sudan and South Sudan as alarming and becoming more critical as the rainy season approaches.

Local conflicts have forced some 958,000 people from their homes, including 709,000 within South Sudan and 249,000 people who have fled to neighboring countries, said John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“What is alarming is that over 5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and figures will continue to grow as long as conflict continues,” said Ging in an exclusive interview with AA.

Ging has just returned from the conflict zone in the horn of African region with emergency directors from eight humanitarian agencies and said there is a huge logistical challenge looming in South Sudan with the rainy season coming at the end of April. Millions of people are depending on aid delivery for basic humanitarian assistance.

“(South Sudan) floods throughout the rainy season,” Ging said. “So if we don’t get the aid into the region in the next couple of weeks and prepositioned for the rainy season, it would be quite a catastrophic situation.”

Ging said it would be almost impossible to get aid channels flowing if necessary stockpiles are not in place before the rains.

Lament

Ging openly lamented that South Sudan has largely lost global attention with media and diplomatic focus waning since it is has gained independence

“The (humanitarian) situation is now deteriorating and worse than before,” he said and politics can negatively impact aid delivery.

In South Sudan, trucks carrying tons of urgent supplies are often held up by local officials from both government and rebel groups.

Asked whether there was political manipulation of humanitarian aid, Ging said checkpoints the UN found on many of the roads in South Sudan were definitely “slowing down the aid delivery.”

“We have applied to the government of South Sudan to allow us quicker and freer passage because the situation is so urgent,” Ging said. “People are desperately at need and we have to get the aid to them quickly.”

Aid agencies have so far reached around 925,700 of the 3.2 million people needing assistance in the region by June this year, according to OCHA official UN website.

Appeal

The UN is appealing to local influential parties to let the aid through and cease the conflict.

Local “leadership has the power to stop the conflict and we hope they will do that, because too many people are suffering needlessly and too many lives were lost,” Ging said.

He also asked governments around the world to realize the suffering of fellow human beings in both of these countries (Sudan and South Sudan) and mobilize the funds needed. Some $995 million is needed for the Sudan and some $ 1.3 billion for South Sudan, he said.

Ging said the atrocities that have been committed in Darfur (Sudan) in recent history “are as bad and in some instances worse than they were ten years ago.”

“The humanitarian situation in both of these countries has dramatically deteriorated. That means that unless we get more money we will be falling further short in delivering very basic lifesaving support for these people who are tragically caught in a situation beyond their control,” Ging said

Last Mod: 26 Mart 2014, 11:11
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