(New York, 25 March 2014) UN OCHA Operations Director John Ging today expressed deep concern about the massive and growing humanitarian needs in Sudan and the conflict devastating South Sudan and its people.
Briefing the press with Yasmine Haque of UNICEF after their week-long visit to Sudan and South Sudan, with fellow Emergency Directors from the Danish Refugee Council, FAO, IOM, UNHCR, WFP and WHO, Mr. Ging appealed for renewed attention and commitment to the plight of people in both countries.
“The people of Sudan are facing an overwhelming humanitarian crisis that has almost entirely slipped off the international community’s radar,” said Mr. Ging. “More people were displaced in Darfur in 2013 than in any single year since 2004, and almost 200,000 people have already been displaced this year. Yet, while people’s needs are increasing, international attention and commitment are at an all-time low.”
Over two million people are displaced in Darfur and more than 6.1 million people need humanitarian assistance across Sudan. The latter represents a 40% increase since January 2013. Many people do not have access to the most basic healthcare, education, water and sanitation, yet, just three per cent of the funding required for humanitarian action in Sudan in 2014 has been received - US$34 million out of $995 million.
Mr. Ging said that the Emergency Directors engaged in a constructive dialogue with Sudanese authorities and emphasised the need for greater access for humanitarian organisations particularly in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
“Nearly two years since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2046, aid has still not been delivered to rebel-held areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, where it is estimated 800,000 people are in need of assistance,” said Mr. Ging. “We hope the positive discussions will be swiftly converted into aid on the ground. With the lean season rapidly approaching, we cannot overstate the urgency of the humanitarian needs.”
Since the start of the brutal crisis in South Sudan, thousands of people have been killed, more than 700,000 people have been displaced within South Sudan, and nearly a quarter of a million have ﬂed to Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Nearly five million people now urgently need basic humanitarian aid in South Sudan.
“The scale of death and destruction in the world’s newest nation since last December is appalling,” said Mr. Ging. “Six months ago, the country was on the right path to development. Today, the parties to the conflict are wantonly destroying the very infrastructure which was laying the foundation for the country’s future. I appeal to all those with influence to urgently end the violence.”
Around 925,000 people - including people internally displaced, refugees from other countries sheltering in South Sudan and other vulnerable communities - have had some humanitarian relief since January 2014. But much more remains to be done. Mr. Ging appealed to the international community to rapidly provide funding for the response. With the rainy season due to begin in earnest in June, the clock is racing against the humanitarian response.
“The people of Sudan and South Sudan are facing huge challenges and they deserve the support and attention of the international community,” stressed Mr. Ging. “We urge the parties to the conflicts, and all who have influence on them, to end the violence and to make it possible for aid to be delivered on the massive and swift scale that is needed.”
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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