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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs