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Aid workers face threats in South Sudan says UN humanitarian chief

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Aid workers face threats in South Sudan says UN humanitarian chief

Photo: Africa Renewal/John Gillespie
Valerie Amos Delivers Address on World Humanitarian Day, 2011. Photo: Africa Renewal/John Gillespie

29 Jan 2014 - Humanitarian workers are being obstructed in their work in South Sudan, according to the head of UN humanitarian operations.

Valerie Amos  concluded a three-day visit to the country that has been plagued by fighting between government and rebel forces since December last year.

Ms. Amos told reporters in the capital Juba that aid agencies have so far helped 300,000 displaced people in the country.

But, she added, there are many others, including in the town of Malakal which she visited, who cannot get the aid they need because of threats to relief workers and the looting of relief supplies.

"There are tens of thousands of people in the town who need our help. Because of the looting we cannot help as many as we would wish to. Aid workers have been subjected to violence, with three of our colleagues killed since 15 December. I have received worrying reports of interference in humanitarian activities, including a recent incident where 106 aid workers were prevented from relocating from Yirol in Lakes State to Juba for safety." (29")

Valerie Amos said "the current crisis in South Sudan comes on top of an already challenging humanitarian situation in the country, where 3.7 million people are now severely food insecure."

She warned that the violence and abuses that have been seen since December, threaten the future of the young country.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations