South Sudan: Humanitarian Crisis Eminent as Violence Locks out Aid Agencies

JUBA, JULY 29, 2016 (CISA) – Aid agencies working in South Sudan have urged the government and the UN peacekeeping force, UNMISS, to ensure humanitarian agencies can operate safely in the country in order to get aid to those who need it.

The aid agencies including CARE, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Danish Refugee Council, Global Communities, Internews, Jesuit Refugee Service, and Relief International have called on the Government of South Sudan and the opposition to fully implement the ceasefire throughout the country.

The recent surge in fighting has prevented aid agencies from providing urgent help to millions of people in a country where half the population relies on humanitarian aid, the ten aid agencies warned July 28, Jesuit Refugee Services Eastern Africa has reported.

“Once again, we risk failing the people of South Sudan at a time when they most need our help. Many aid agencies have had to suspend or limit life-saving work due to the continuing fighting and insecurity, and it is the most vulnerable people who are paying the price,” said Kate Phillips-Barrasso, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee.

The fighting in Juba left at least 300 dead and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes, leaving many more people without enough food, water or shelter. Because of the insecurity, many agencies had to temporarily reduce their personnel to essential staff only.

Warehouses of food, water and life-saving materials have been looted even after the ceasefire declaration. Ongoing fighting and restrictions on internal flights have meant that agencies cannot travel freely to deliver help, and cannot restock their bases across the country with basic supplies needed to support  operations and materials needed for humanitarian projects.

Aid organisations also called on the UN Security Council to ensure the performance of UNMISS is improved in order to protect civilians.

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