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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
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