Aid agencies struggling with South Sudan crisis

Aid agencies struggling with South Sudan crisis
2 min read
14 February, 2017
Humanitarian groups in South Sudan are struggling to cope with the scale of the crisis as appalling conditions continue.
Some 7.5 million people across South Sudan are now in need of aid [Getty]

Aid groups and humanitarian organisations need to raise $1.6 billion to provide life-saving assistance to millions of people across South Sudan, against a backdrop of extreme violence, sexual abuse, forced displacement and a risk of famine.

“The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has deteriorated dramatically due to the devastating combination of conflict, economic decline and climatic shocks,” said Eugene Owusu, of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan.

“In 2017, we are facing unprecedented needs, in an unprecedented number of locations, and these needs will increase during the upcoming lean season.”

Humanitarian organisations estimate that some 7.5 million people across South Sudan are now in need of some kind of help.

Since the end of 2013, when the conflict in South Sudan began, more than three million people have been forced to flee their homes, including nearly two million people who have been internally displaced and about 1.5 million who have fled as refugees to neighbouring countries.

Terrible atrocities are reported every day by refugees, including widespread sexual violence. Food is scarce and poor nutrition is rife. The risk of famine is very high for thousands of people in conflict-affected areas if early action is not taken.

“We have prioritised those who most urgently require assistance,” said Owusu.

“It is imperative that this appeal is funded early, and funded fully, so that the aid workers can respond robustly and rapidly.”

In South Sudan, humanitarian organisations use the dry season to deliver supplies by road. When the rains set in – usually in May – most roads become impassable and supplies must be delivered by air, multiplying the cost of the humanitarian operation, which is one of the largest and most complex in the world. Swift action during the dry season is therefore essential.

More than 100 aid organisations including 62 local NGOs, 63 international NGOs and 12 United Nations are engaged in the 2017 OCHA Humanitarian Response Plan.