(Nairobi, 9 February 2015): The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker concluded a three-day mission to South Sudan today, warning that without peace, extreme human suffering will persist in the world’s newest country. They called on all parties to stop the violence, reconcile their differences and commit to peace.
The two then traveled to Nairobi to participate in the joint OCHA-IGAD High-Level Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan. At the conference, $618 million was pledged - $529 million of it new money - to support the humanitarian response in South Sudan.
The humanitarian consequences of fighting in South Sudan continue to be grave: 2.5 million people urgently need food, with thousands of children suffering from malnutrition. Massive displacement continues; an estimated 2 million people have fled their homes, half of whom are children. About 1.5 million people are displaced inside South Sudan, with almost 500,000 having fled to neighbouring countries.
“There is a woman, a child, a man behind every statistic and the numbers are large,” USG Amos noted. “People are desperate for peace. They are tired of living in fear. Many had had to flee several times. They are exhausted.”
The South Sudan response plan requires US$1.8 billion in 2015. The funding pledged today will enable aid organizations to take advantage of road and river access to reach more people in the most cost-effective way, and pre-position supplies to enable delivery of aid in the rainy season when roads become impassable.
During their three-day visit to South Sudan, Ms. Amos and Mr. Whitaker met with humanitarian partners and Government officials, and visited people affected by the crisis in Jonglei and Juba. “I am deeply saddened that the crisis has been so brutal for children. I met boys and girls who are not being educated, and are part of an estimated half a million children who have dropped out of school. Thousands have been recruited by armed groups, and are fighting wars instead of learning,” Mr. Whitaker stated. “Only with peace can young people in South Sudan play an important role in rebuilding their lives and face the future without fear.”
Ms. Amos and Mr. Whitaker called on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and allow lifesaving assistance to reach all communities in need. “It is heartrending to see the suffering of the people. This is a country rich in talent and resources. If this conflict continues, we will lose a generation of South Sudan’s children. If the economic stagnation is not addressed, development and support to essential sectors like health and education cannot be sustained. People need peace, stability and security,” she said.
For further information, please contact:
Matthew Conway, OCHA Head of Public Information, Regional Office on +254 732 500 010
Jennifer Paton OCHA Public Information Officer South Sudan, on +211 (0) 920100413, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int. In New York: Amanda Pitt, +1 917 442-1810 or email@example.com
Or Caroline Descombris, Liaison Officer for Forest Whitaker at UNESCO, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. Mobile: 0923311224 or +33.1.45681624
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.