News / Africa

In South Sudan, UN, Aid Agencies Race Against Clock

The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
The U.N.'s top humanitarian official in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, assesses the situation at the U.N. compound where many displaced have sought shelter in Bentiu, Unity state, South Sudan, Dec. 24, 2013. (UNMISS)
TEXT SIZE - +
Charlton Doki
— Aid agencies in South Sudan are racing against the clock to get food and other assistance to millions of people suffering from the "devastating consequences" of the conflict that has raked the young country since December, a top United Nations official said Tuesday.

The United Nations appealed for $1.27 billion to help its agencies and NGOs to strategically position aid supplies for delivery before the rainy season begins; to protect the rights of vulnerable people, including the tens of thousands who sought refuge at U.N. compounds during the fighting; and to transport aid workers and supplies to the camps housing the displaced.

"The priority is to save lives now and ensure that we have food, medicine and other lifesaving supplies prepositioned in the field, in easy reach of aid agencies before the rains hit and the roads become impassable,”  the U.N.'s Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, told a news conference in Juba.

“We are talking about providing relief for displaced people and host communities, for refugees and other communities whose livelihoods have been destroyed. We are talking about providing emergency relief, upholding people’s rights and strengthening people’s livelihoods,” Lanzer said.

A young boy looks through the fence surrounding a safe place for children just outside Malakal. SOS Children's Villages says the children in its care need food and water, and aid agencies need more funds as food prices have spiked.A young boy looks through the fence surrounding a safe place for children just outside Malakal. SOS Children's Villages says the children in its care need food and water, and aid agencies need more funds as food prices have spiked.
x
A young boy looks through the fence surrounding a safe place for children just outside Malakal. SOS Children's Villages says the children in its care need food and water, and aid agencies need more funds as food prices have spiked.
A young boy looks through the fence surrounding a safe place for children just outside Malakal. SOS Children's Villages says the children in its care need food and water, and aid agencies need more funds as food prices have spiked.
Nearly 900,000 people have fled their homes in South Sudan,  thousands more have been hurt or wounded during the fighting, livelihoods have been lost and people’s ability to move livestock to pasture, to fish or to hunt, has been severely compromised by the fighting,  Lanzer saod.

He urged relief operations to ramp up quickly so that aid is in place before the rainy season starts, which is usually in March. The rainy season makes access to many parts of South Sudan even more difficult, if not impossible.


Seven in 10 in Jonglei face hunger


Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, from which hundreds of thousands have fled fierce fighting between pro- and anti-government forces, are in the most dire need of aid.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said seven in 10 people in Jonglei state are in under "acute, emergency food insecurity."  In Unity state, nearly two-thirds of the population is severely food insecure and in Upper Nile, nearly half -- 46 percent -- the population is.

A map by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) showing the number and percentages of South Sudanese facing severe, acute food insecurity as of the end of January 2014.
A map by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) showing the number and percentages of South Sudanese facing severe, acute food insecurity as of the end of January 2014.
During nearly six weeks of violence, some 4,700 tonnes of aid items -- mostly food -- were looted from U.N. storage facilities around South Sudan, creating another hurdle for aid providers.

Most of the looting took place in parts of the country that were hardest hit by the violence, including Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, and Malakal, capital of Upper Nile.


Looting drives up food prices


The head of the SOS Children's Villages NGO, which runs a long-term care project for orphaned and abandoned children in Malakal, told VOA Tuesday that the massive looting of U.N. food stores has helped to drive up food prices, making it even more difficult to procure and deliver much-needed food aid to people in need.

"Food right now is at an all-time premium," Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children's Villages - USA, which has been in Sudan and South Sudan since the late 1970s, said.

"It's three-four times the normal cost so it's blown our budgets out of proportion. We need money to buy food, baby food, water," she said.

Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.
x
Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.
Empty tins litter the ground at the looted compound of an aid agency in Malakal, South Sudan.

Croneberger said the violence in Malakal has "decreased a little bit" since the signing 12 days ago of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the warring sides, allowing staff at the children's village "to venture out to find food, to find water."

"But we're still keeping the children in the village to keep them safe," she said.

Lanzer said UN agencies are working closely with community leaders and UN peacekeepers to ensure food stocks that are pre-positioned in areas where security has not yet been fully re-established will be protected from looters.

Nabeel Biajo and Karin Zeitvogel in Washington, D.C. contributed to this story

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Viviana from: DC
February 04, 2014 8:49 PM
Terrible situation... Hoping peace comes soon. Poor children!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid