SOUTH SUDAN: Targeted Attacks on Humanitarian Assets Threaten Response in Country

By Paschal Norbert

JUBA, MAY 26, 2023 (CISA) “All looting of humanitarian assets and attacks on humanitarian facilities is utterly unacceptable. Humanitarians save lives and must be able to safely deliver life-saving supplies to those in need,” stated Peter Van der Auweraert, the Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim (ai) in South Sudan.

Mr Van der Auweraert, in a statement by OCHA on May 24, strongly condemned “a targeted attack and looting of humanitarian assets outside the UN Compound in Bor, Jonglei State.”

In the statement, OCHA says that on May 23, a large armed group on motorbikes looted five lorries loaded with food supplies outside of the UN compound in Bor. The lorries were loaded with 100 metric tonnes of World Food Programme (WFP) food assistance, enough to feed more than 11,000 people for one month and also meant to support those in most need living in Twic East.

According to the statement, the incident has forced WFP to halt operations and movements out of Bor for the third time since the year began.

“To have lorries attacked on the perimeter of the UN compound is beyond unacceptable and we have no choice but to pause operations out of Bor until the safety and security of our staff and assets can be assured. This will have an impact upon more than a million people in Jonglei and Pibor, many of whom are women and children, who rely on the assistance WFP provides,” said Mary-Ellen McGroarty, WFP representative to South Sudan.

OCHA says humanitarian access continues to be adversely affected by sub-national and inter-communal violence, operational interference, and physical constraints, affecting the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance.

“Millions of people in South Sudan bear the brunt of the protracted humanitarian crisis. They face appalling living conditions, limited access to basic goods and services, and a heightened risk of gender-based violence, and rely on life-saving support,” stated Van der Auweraert.

He explained, “The crisis in Sudan leaves millions of families in South Sudan at risk and they need extra humanitarian support.”

In a situation report on May 17, OCHA stated that over 936,000 people have been newly displaced by the conflict since April 15, including 736,200 people displaced internally and 200,000 who have crossed into neighbouring countries including South Sudan.