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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid