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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More