South Sudan: UN humanitarian chief urges access to civilians trapped by Jonglei fighting

People fleeing Pibor town in Jonglei state, South Sudan. Photo: UNMISS

17 July 2013 – Alarmed by the deteriorating situation in Jonglei, where deadly clashes between multiple parties have left thousands of people cut off from aid, the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged an immediate end to the violence and appealed for access to all those in need in the strife-torn region of South Sudan.

“I am alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Pibor County in Jonglei,” Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement. “I call on all parties to stop the violence immediately, to prevent further unnecessary loss of life, and to create the necessary security environment conducive for aid delivery.”

Ms. Amos said that an estimated 100,000 civilians in the area have been cut off from life-saving assistance as a result of fighting between State and non-state armed actors, and the recent resurgence of inter-communal clashes.

“The fighting is threatening the lives of ordinary people and has reduced the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide urgently needed help,” she stated.

While it is “good news” that relief organizations today delivered assistance to the Dorein area along the Kengen River for the first time since the beginning of hostilities, the delivery of food and other basic supplies into such vast and swampy terrain requires significant resources.

“I ask the international community to ensure that we have the necessary logistical resources, including air assets, to reach all those in need in Pibor County,” Ms. Amos said, emphasizing that as long as the fighting continues, aid delivery will be limited and “we will not get help to those who need it.”

She underscored that the UN will work with all parties to ensure people in need receive humanitarian assistance and remind all sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians.


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