South Sudan: High profile mission to reclaim global attention (PHOTO GALLERY)

9 Feb 2015

8 Feb 2015, Jonglei State, South Sudan: UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos and UNESCO Envoy/Academy Award winning Acror Forest Whitaker meet local officials in Wai, a town in South Sudan's Jonglei State. Credit OCHA/David Gough
UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos and Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker visit conflict-riven South Sudan.

UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos and Academy Award winning actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker, have visited South Sudan in an effort to refocus global attention on the conflict-riven country.

“We wanted to see for ourselves the day-to-day impact of the crisis of people caught in the middle of fighting,” said Ms. Amos, speaking at a press conference in Juba at the end of the three day visit.

“Yesterday, we travelled to Ayod County in Jonglei State. People are desperate for peace. They are tired of living in fear. Many have had to flee several times. They are exhausted. They lack water; they are extremely worried for their children. Sexual violence is rife.

“All people want to live in safety, security and stability”

USG Amos and Mr. Whitaker also met with President Salva Kiir and his Ministers, where they agreed on the importance of stopping the violence, and of securing an immediate and sustainable peace.

“It is […] important to avert a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country. Thousands of children are suffering from malnutrition. The threat of hunger and disease is real.”

Earlier, Mr. Whitaker expressed his hope for a resolution to the crisis.

"I am excited about the new progress has been going on but I am hopeful that we will find a place where children would be able to go to school, find peace in their lives and be able to be taken care of their food with all aspects of their wellbeing," he said.

New appeal for South Sudan launches today

Ms. Amos and Mr. Whitaker left Juba this morning for Nairobi where they are taking part in a High-Level Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan and surrounding countries. The UN and its humanitarian partners are formally launching their US$1.81 billion appeal for 2015.

Aid groups urgently need $600 million of this before the end of February so they can take advantage of the dry season to reach people in need and pre-position supplies ahead of the rainy season.