South Sudan: Number of people needing aid doubles
The UN confirmed today that more than 120,000 people urgently need aid in South Sudan’s violence-affected Jonglei State - double the amount from just two weeks ago.
“The violence in Jonglei hasn’t stopped,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan. “Only two weeks ago we launched a massive emergency operation to help 60,000 people. As a result of recent attacks, we now estimate that double that number will need help.”
Retaliatory fighting between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities escalated sharply in late December 2011, causing an estimated tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in Pibor County, and resulting in casualties and property destruction. The most recent clash took place on 16 January, when 80 people were reportedly killed and 300 houses were burned down in Duk County.
Fifteen humanitarian agencies are providing food, water, shelter, protection and medical care in various areas including Pibor, Gumuruk, Likuangole, Boma and Walgak.
“Operations in South Sudan are some of the most difficult and expensive in the region due to the combination of poor infrastructure and limited accessibility,” said Ms. Grande. “We are extremely concerned that humanitarian facilities, including health centres, are being targeted during attacks. We call upon all parties to respect the neutrality of humanitarian partners.”
Violence in other parts of the world’s youngest country has also escalated in recent months. Tensions on the border with Sudan have triggered fresh displacements. The ongoing conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan has caused about 80,000 people to flee into South Sudan since mid-2011.
The UN is appealing for US$763 million to fund 271 humanitarian projects to be carried out by 110 organizations in 2012. “It is essential that this year’s appeal is adequately resourced early in 2012 to ensure we meet our commitments to the people of South Sudan during the first critical year of statehood,” Ms. Grande stressed.