News / Africa

South Sudan Leaders Must Let Aid Reach People, USAID Official Says

A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.
A sick displaced man lies asleep on a bed while a mother bathes her son and keeps an eye on her other child in the United Nations camp in Juba, South Sudan, Feb. 12, 2014.
Karin ZeitvogelJohn Tanza
A top USAID official has called on leaders on both sides of South Sudan's conflict to ensure that aid reaches the millions of people in desperate need in the country, amid reports that supplies are being blocked or even confiscated by government and rebel troops.

"The people of South Sudan cannot afford for aid be delayed," USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg said in an interview with South Sudan in Focus.

"The rivers have been closed to humanitarian deliveries... all these instances of humanitarian aid workers being harassed, of being stopped at checkpoints, being forced to pay huge bribes -- these are actions that the government and the opposition leadership need to take a very strong stance on and make very clear that, for the people's sake, humanitarian assistance needs to reach them," she said.
 
Nearly four months of conflict in South Sudan have forced the United States to shift its focus from providing development funds to build the world's newest nation, to providing aid that saves lives, she said.

"Right now we're very much focussed on... providing food, health, urgent livelihoods -- the kind of assistance that helps people stay alive," Lindborg said.
 
More than a million people have been forced from their homes by the conflict that broke out in South Sudan in mid-December. U.N. agencies have warned that more than a third of the population of 10.8 million is in danger of food insecurity as the fighting stretches on into a fourth month.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.
The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says a million people have been displaced in 100 days of fighting in South Sudan.
Lindborg said that the huge development gains seen by South Sudan in the two-and-a-half years since independence in July 2011 have been largely wiped out by just over 100 days of conflict. She faulted the leadership of South Sudan for allowing its own internal rows to boil over into conflict that has diverted the country from the path of development. 

"We have applauded, we have supported the vision of the people of South Sudan for a peaceful, united, democratic country," Lindborg said. "It is tragic that their leadership has not been able to keep the country on this pathway."
 
But the United States has not given up hope that one day soon it will again be able to provide development assistance to South Sudan instead of sending emergency aid.

"Our hope and our goal is to be able to move from this focus on humanitarian back into development, but for us to do that we need to have the fighting stop and there needs to be peace again," Lindborg said.
This is regrettably a conflict between leaders who need to come together, stop the fighting and get back on the pathway to peace.
"The United States is very much committed to continue supporting the people of South Sudan and we deeply hope there will be a peaceful pathway that re-emerges very soon, for the sake of so many people who fought so long and hard, many of whom are on the brink of massive food insecurity," she said.
 
Speaking with South Sudan in Focus on the day that slow-moving peace talks for South Sudan were adjourned again. Lindberg also urged South Sudanese officials to work with the media in South Sudan instead of placing numerous constraints on journalists reporting on the ongoing conflict.
South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.
x
South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.
South Sudanese information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth attends a press conference in Addis Ababa, Jan. 5, 2014.


South Sudan's Information Minister, Michael Makuei, said last month that reporters who broadcast or publish interviews inside South Sudan with anti-government representatives are violating the law. Several journalists have been detained and questioned during the fighting and some have been expelled from the country.
 
When people have information about what's going on, they are better able to call for a peaceful, united future.
The government has denied that it questions reporters, insisting it merely offers them advice.

Lindborg said muzzling the media was the wrong tactic, and the government should instead build its relationship with journalists so that they give the people of South Sudan the full picture of what's going on in the country.

"When people have information about what's going on, they are better able to call for a peaceful, united future," she said.

"I think a lot of people in South Sudan now want peace... It's important for the media to put that message out there so people understand that this not a war against your neighbor... This is regrettably a conflict between leaders who need to come together, stop the fighting and get back on the pathway to peace," she said.
 
The interview with Nancy Lindborg was conducted by John Tanza.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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