South Sudan: Deputy humanitarian chief calls for new approaches to protracted crises

19 November 2013, South Sudan: Children at the transit centre in Juba. Many families need help to reintegrate into society and have access to basic services, including education for their children. Credit: OCHA
Multi-year plan to focus on emergency needs and building resilience.

Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang said today that a new approach to humanitarian work in South Sudan over the next few years will see a focus on longer-term investment and disaster management to build resilience and improve preparedness. 

“My discussions with local authorities in Jonglei and in the capital, Juba, focused on the need to find sustainable solutions to South Sudan’s protracted crises; that is, investing in better disaster management, strengthening the country’s basic infrastructure, and ensuring lasting peace and development,” ASG Kang told a media briefing in New York.      

“This is why we have decided to take a different approach to our humanitarian response in South Sudan for next year. We recently launched a multi-year plan, starting in 2014, which will focus on immediate emergency needs as well as longer-term measures including community resilience and national capacity-building.”  

“We want to work with local communities, authorities and the Government to help South Sudan cope better with crises. We want communities affected by disasters to recover and build back stronger.”

Harrowing stories

Ms. Kang was speaking after her return from an eight-day mission to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. In South Sudan, she travelled to Bor, Twic East and Pibor counties in the state of Jonglei, where hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by violence and by seasonal floods.

“I met families in Jonglei who told me harrowing stories of suffering and loss due to displacement,” said Ms. Kang. “As the world’s youngest country, South Sudan is struggling to provide security and meet the basic needs of its people,” she added, noting that an estimated 4.5 million people need humanitarian assistance, including close to 1 million people who are severely food insecure.

Ms. Kang said that although the humanitarian situation had improved slightly over the last year, and UN agencies and aid partners were continuing to work with the Government to meet the needs of communities affected by crises, it was very clear that much more needed to be done.

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