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

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs