South Sudan: UN relief chief visits communities displaced by recent violence

Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos (fourth right) waves at children as she walks through the UN base in Juba, South Sudan. Photo: UNOCHA/Michelle Kierulf

28 January 2014 – The United Nations humanitarian chief continued her visit to South Sudan today with a stop in Malakal in Upper Nile state, where she met with communities displaced by the recent conflict and observed the efforts of aid agencies that have been assisting those affected by the violence.

The Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, said she was concerned about the current situation and the impact of the violence across the country.

She added that humanitarian organizations were supporting the Government’s efforts to respond to the immediate crisis, but said they also needed to start preparations to respond to needs during the rainy season in April.

More than 100,000 South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan since fighting between pro- and anti-Government forces began in mid-December. Inside the country, some 490,000 people are currently displaced, with 79,000 of them sheltering at eight bases of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

There is hope that the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in Ethiopia last week will lead to an end to the fighting. Meanwhile, the UN and its humanitarian partners are doing all they can to assist those in need.

Together with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, Ms. Amos visited displaced communities in Malakal and aid agencies’ warehouses, including a World Food Programme warehouse which was recently looted.

She also met displaced families sheltering in a teaching hospital, which is now hosting about 500 civilians, and visited a UN peacekeeping hospital, where over 900 patients have received various kinds of treatment.

This follows her visit yesterday to displaced families at the UN base in the capital, Juba, where she also met with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMISS, Hilde Johnson, as well as members of the humanitarian community.

At the base yesterday, Ms. Amos met a women’s group whose members expressed fears about returning home because of the ongoing insecurity.

The South Sudan Crisis Response Plan, launched last month, seeks $209 million to meet the most immediate needs of the crisis between January and March. As of 13 January, aid agencies had secured around $109 million of the immediate requirements for the emergency response.


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