South Sudan Humanitarian Bulletin Issue 17 | 17 November 2017

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Nov 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Humanitarian Coordinator welcomes President Kiir's order on free, unimpeded and unhindered movement of humanitarians in the country.

  • The current harvest season provides meagre respite to hunger crisis as conflict persists.

  • Heavy fighting in Nimni,
    Guit County, forces several aid workers to flee for their safety and abandon critical life-saving aid response.

  • More than 17,300 IDPs in Kajo-keji flee to new safe locations due to fighting between armed actors.

  • Measles outbreak has been confirmed in Panyijiar County

President's order on humanitarian access welcomed

The Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, and the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, have welcomed President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s decree ordering free, unimpeded and unhindered movement of humanitarian organizations in the country.

In a Republican Order dated 9 November, President Kiir said: “All humanitarian convoys and NGOs should be accorded free, unimpeded and unhindered movement to the needy areas all over South Sudan.” Adding: “All roadblocks should be removed from the roads.” Humanitarians face repeated challenges to reach people in dire need as a result of clashes, insecurity and access denials. Life-saving activities continue to be disrupted due to access constraints and insecurity, with at least 43 incidents causing the relocation of more than 500 humanitarian staff from January to October 2017.

“Ensuring unhindered humanitarian access is essential to save lives,” said Noudéhou. “South Sudan’s humanitarian partners appreciate the step that President Kiir has taken to ensure the free movement of supplies and personnel, particularly at a time when food insecurity continues to deteriorate, and humanitarian organizations face pressure to expand their response.”

Mr. Noudéhou hoped that the order would ease delivery of aid to millions of South Sudanese affected by prolonged conflict, disease and a collapsing economy. “We hope that the order will have a positive impact in reducing the many constraints faced by humanitarian partners that delay or prevent the provision of urgently needed help and which too often place humanitarian staff at risk,” said Noudéhou.

“We look forward to seeing the order implemented on the ground swiftly and we will continue to work with all concerned authorities to ensure a safe and secure operational environment that is conducive to the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need,” he added.

Ambassador Haley also welcomed the order. “This is a good sign, but we must see actions—more than words—from President Kiir,” Haley said in a statement to The Washington Post newspaper. “The true test will be whether humanitarian assistance is actually allowed to get to the South Sudanese people in a consistent way. We will be watching, and we will continue to encourage President Kiir to do the right thing,” she added.

High fees, interference threaten aid delivery

Access restrictions continued to hamper humanitarian operations and organizations' ability to reach people in need in multiple locations, often due to armed actors contradicting assurances given by authorities.

In Rubkona (Unity), the authorities forced the suspension of water, sanitation and hygiene activities after a partner declined to comply with a directive to employ community volunteers. The suspension affected the delivery of services to over 51,000 people in Bentiu and Rubkona towns. In Juba, authorities issued a circular announcing new work permit rates of up to $4,000 per permit per year, which could see nearly $7 million, meant for people in need, diverted to fees.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

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