U.N. says 50,000 children face death in S. Sudan, launches aid plan

Tens of thousands of children in South Sudan could die this year without assistance from aid agencies, the United Nations said, as it appealed for more than $1 billion to help those hit by six months of civil war.

U.N. says 50,000 children face death in S. Sudan, launches aid plan

World Bulletin/News Desk

The United Nations (U.N.) and aid agencies on Saturday unveiled a new crisis response plan to help millions of people harmed by the ongoing political conflict in South Sudan.

"We have three main goals, to save lives, prevent famine and avert the loss of a generation of children and young people to this conflict," U.N. humanitarian coordinator Toby Lanzer told a press conference in Juba.

"Aid organizations have reached 1.9 million people so far. With sufficient resources, we will be able to do much more," Lanzer said.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator said that the plan has identified "six killers" to deal with.

"We are working to prevent the six killers: violence in which we need commitment from the parties to the conflict, malnutrition, measles, diarrhea, cholera and respiratory infection," Lanzer said.

Lanzer said that $1.8 billion is needed to implement the new crisis response plan.

"Some $740 million dollars have already been mobilized. This leaves a gap of just over 1 billion and that is what I am asking for today," he said.

"If we can get this, we will avert a catastrophe in South Sudan and pave the way for a proper resettlement when peace is realized," he added.

South Sudan slid into chaos late last year when President Salva Kiir accused a group of army leaders allied to sacked vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup against his government.

Hundreds of thousands have since been displaced by subsequent fighting, while the conflict has created a serious humanitarian crisis for large swathes of South Sudan's population.

South Sudan's warring rivals signed a peace deal in Addis Ababa in May, following a January cessation of hostilities agreement. Neither deal, however, succeeded in ending ongoing hostility by both sides.

Commitment

Lanzer called on South Sudan's warring rivals parties to translate their commitment to peace into action on the ground.

"The commitment of NGOs and U.N. agencies is steadfast and resolute, but we need two things to do our work," he said.

"First the high-level commitment of both parties to full access for aid workers must be implemented on the ground. Second, relief agencies need more money. With those things in place, we will deliver," Lanzer added.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator decried the low funding level for nutrition and protection programs in South Sudan.

"The consequences could be dire," Lanzer warned. "50,000 children could die this year if they do not get assistance. Thousands of survivors of rape could go without psychosocial support," he said.

"We are working with the donors to see that the sectors of nutrition and protection programs which are getting a low funding get a boost. It is also important that the leaders of the country allocate funding to key areas so that the delivery of services is available. This would be a big boost to the donor communities," Lanzer said.

He called on the South Sudanese rivals to make quick progress on the resolution to the crisis.

"It will be very important for the parties to make progress on the resolution as quickly as possible. If it comes and I hope it does that will be the biggest donation to the humanitarian situation," Lanzer said.

"More money has been given for relief operation in South Sudan than inside Syria and South Sudanese have to recognize this and work to rebuild the country," he said.

"South Sudanese institutions should also come up to look for ways of solving the situation and the international community will then top up," Lanzer added.

 

Last Mod: 14 Haziran 2014, 18:00
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