The Republic of South Sudan faces considerable humanitarian challenges, which have increased substantially since the start of the conflict in December 2013. The legacy of civil war and chronic underdevelopment impact heavily on the ability of the new nation to provide basic services and respond to humanitarian needs, rendering communities vulnerable to the effects of insecurity, displacement, food shortages and outbreaks of disease.
OCHA’s role in South Sudan is to identify humanitarian emergencies and support the authorities and humanitarian organizations to respond in an effective and timely manner. OCHA operates through a Country Office in the capital city, Juba, and a network of sub-offices in the Greater Equatoria region, Jonglei, Northen Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Upper Nile and Warrap. When crises occur in places where OCHA does not have a regular presence, a team is deployed from Juba to support field coordination.
When new humanitarian needs arise, OCHA works with a host of partners, including national and local authorities, non-governmental and international organizations and UN humanitarian agencies, focal points for thematic areas (clusters) and the local communities, to assess who is in need and what they require, and to determine the most appropriate way of meeting those needs. OCHA monitors the response and provides support on issues that hamper relief delivery, such as humanitarian access or funding shortfalls. OCHA also supports the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan (HC), to ensure that he or she is able to effectively coordinate humanitarian programmes at the strategic level and engage in high-level advocacy to ensure that relief reaches people in need, on time.
OCHA also works closely with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, to boost humanitarian coordination and policy capacity at state and central level.
At present, OCHA is focused on responding to the current humanitarian crisis by:
- Strengthening strategic coordination in Juba among the main stakeholders including the Government, donors, UN agencies, non-governmental and international organizations, in order to better respond to the humanitarian crisis.
- Strengthening operational coordination at the cluster and state levels to optimize the humanitarian response to people in need.
- Improving humanitarian access and space through monitoring and advocacy efforts informed by access incident data and best practices.