World Bulletin/News Desk
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kang Kyung-wha, currently visiting South Sudan, has made an urgent appeal for $600 million to meet the needs of communities affected by the country's ongoing political crisis.
Kang made the appeal on Friday following a three-day assessment of the country's humanitarian situation, during which she visited affected communities in rebel-held Lankien in Jonglei State.
"We are planning for next year and are urgently calling for $600 million by February to kick start next year's operations," Kang told reporters in Juba.
"As the dry season begins, we are afraid violence will further escalate," Kang warned. "But the dry season will pave the way for the delivery of humanitarian aid by road."
"We need to preposition lifesaving and livelihood supplies to reach all people in need and to carry out repair to roads and airstrips so we can scale up and expand the aid operation," she added.
"Donors have been very generous this year; I hope the appeal we are making makes sense," Kang noted.
She also decried the harsh conditions faced by affected communities in remote areas of South Sudan.
"In Lankien, I met many men, women and children who had literally nothing," Kang told the press. "The level of violence experienced by civilians in South Sudan has been devastating."
"We continue to try to reach communities, but logistic constraints are great. We hope to expand our reach, but all these need resources," Kang asserted.
The UN official went on to call for a cessation of violence in the war-weary country.
"I met government officials and urged them to stop the violation of the cessation of hostilities [agreement] and work for peace," Kang said.
"First of all, the violence must stop. I appeal to all parties to stop it," she added. "Children must be allowed to see their future. The occupation of schools and hospitals [by armed elements] must stop."
According to Toby Lanzer, UN humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan, UN officials are already in discussions with Juba to find ways of prepositioning supplies in hard-to-reach areas of the country.
"As we get to the dry season, there are fears that violence will increase," Lanzer told the press.
"This is one area we are now working on with the government so that we can reach the people with prepositions to assist them next year," Lanzer added.
South Sudan, which became independent in 2011 after seceding from Sudan, descended into chaos and bloodshed late last year following an alleged coup attempt against President Salva Kiir by his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar.
Thousands of South Sudanese have since lost their lives in the conflict.
In recent months, the warring camps have held on-again, off-again peace talks in Addis Ababa sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, an East African regional block based in Djibouti.
Last Mod: 21 Kasım 2014, 23:07