Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-Wha Kang press remarks on South Sudan - New York, Wednesday 4 December 2013
Good afternoon everyone.
I am very happy to brief you on my recent visit to South Sudan and a brief one to Ethiopia and Kenya.
The purpose of my mission was to help keep the global spotlight on the complex humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, and to find ways to strengthen partnership and collaboration with regional organizations and Governments to improve OCHA’s own work in East Africa.
While in South Sudan, I had the opportunity to travel to Bor, Twic East and Pibor counties in the state of Jonglei. I met families who have been affected by violence and more recently by the seasonal floods.
As the world’s youngest country, South Sudan is struggling to provide security and meet the basic needs of its people. An estimated 4.5 million people need humanitarian assistance, including close to 1 million people who are severely food insecure.
Recent floods affected nearly 345,000 people, including many who lost their homes. Farmlands were destroyed, exacerbating the severe food insecurity situation, which is already affecting about 1 million people. I met families in Jonglei who told me harrowing stories of suffering and loss due to displacement.
Although the humanitarian situation in the country has improved slightly over the last year, and United Nations agencies and aid partners continue to work with the Government to meet the needs of communities affected by crises, it was very clear that much more needs to be done.
And 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.
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.
After South Sudan, I visited Addis Ababa for two days, where I participated in the annual Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting, which brings together UN and African Union actors to discuss better ways of coordinating our efforts in support of capacity-building for AU institutions. I also used the opportunity to explain the Secretary-General’s World Humanitarian Summit initiative.
The African Union is a crucial partner for us and we are thankful for its role and initiatives to lead critical humanitarian efforts in the region.
The last leg of my mission took me to Nairobi, where I co-chaired the Great Lakes Consultation with the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mary Robinson; the Special Advisor being Modibo Touré. The meeting focused on highlighting the terrible humanitarian impact of the ongoing conflict in eastern DRC on millions of people in the country and in neighbouring countries.
I was also there to take stock of OCHA’s own engagement in Kenya and the East Africa region, including efforts to work with other humanitarian and development partners looking to find sustainable solutions to issues including food insecurity and displacement.
With that brief introduction, I would like to take your questions now.
Thank you very much.
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