By Deng Machol
Juba – The humanitarian community is asking for $1.7 billion to reach 6.6 million people with urgent life-saving assistance and protection by the end of the year as hunger levels continue to deepen in South Sudan due to a combination of violence, climate change and COVID-19 pandemic.
2021 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan was launched on Tuesday aiming to reach 6.6 million people – including 350,000 refugees – with life-saving assistance and protection.
The plan asks for $1.7 billion in funding to enable UN aid agencies and partners to deliver lifesaving assistance to the restive country.
In 2021, South Sudan is expected to experience again devastating flooding which affected almost 1 million people in both 2019 and 2020.
The ongoing sub-national violence and localized conflicts in many parts of the East Africa’s youngest nation, combined with the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on markets, services and movements, have led to a substantial increase in vulnerabilities.
As a result, South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since the country got her independence 10 years ago.
The upcoming lean season from May to July is expected to be the most severe on record in South Sudan.
The plan has identified 8.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including refugees, across the country. This is an 800,000-person increase in absolute numbers from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020.
“Conflict, displacement, loss of livelihoods, inability to reach health care and lack of access to schools have created urgent humanitarian and protection needs, especially for women and children,” Alain Noudéhou, the Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said.
“Throughout these various shocks, the affected communities have continued to demonstrate a great sense of solidarity. I call on the Government, development partners, donors and aid organizations to match their solidarity with unwavering support,” he added.
Noudéhou further stated that “our immediate priorities include sustaining our response in the most food insecure areas and preparing for the upcoming rainy season, which is forecasted to lead once again to major floods. Thousands of humanitarian workers – most of them South Sudanese – are working tirelessly to save lives and provide humanitarian assistance to people in the areas of greatest need. But we need urgent funding to prevent a further deterioration of the situation, and we need the violence to stop so that the people of South Sudan can finally recover from the crisis and rebuild their lives.”
On the same day, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency launched the 2021 South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan, which seeks $1.2 billion for humanitarian partners to support 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees across five neighbouring countries.
While some progress has been made in implementing the latest peace agreement, humanitarian and protection needs remain high for the largest refugee situation in Africa.
The six year of civil war which broke out in late 2013, has ruined and devestasted a economy and businesses.
The partial transitional government was formed last year but the measures to returning a country into a stable and democracy nation, is remaining challengeable.