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)
    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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora