(Juba, 26 February 2016): UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang, today concluded a two-day visit to South Sudan, calling on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and grant safe and unhindered humanitarian access.
ASG Kang travelled to South Sudan with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on 25 February, where they met Government officials and visited communities affected by the conflict. During her mission, Ms. Kang also met humanitarian partners and the diplomatic community and visited Malakal, where she witnessed the devastating impact of the armed violence that took place on 17 and 18 February in the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site.
“I am outraged by what I have seen in Malakal,” declared the Assistant Secretary-General. “Civilians who had sought safety in the PoC have been attacked, killed, traumatised and displaced once more, with whole sections of the PoC completely and systematically burnt down and destroyed, including medical clinics and schools. Those responsible for these heinous acts must be held to account.”
The two-year conflict in South Sudan has taken a brutal and deadly toll on civilians. Recently, fighting has spread to new areas, including in Wau and Mundri, and there continue to be reports of people being raped and killed and of homes and crops being destroyed and damaged by fighting.
“Despite the peace agreement, civilians in this country continue to face destitution, destruction, death and devastation, and the humanitarian needs continue to grow,” said Ms. Kang. “This is unacceptable. The fighting must stop now. People caught in the middle must be protected and humanitarians granted immediate and unhindered access to all those who need aid and protection.”
ASG Kang appealed to the international community to act immediately to avert an even greater tragedy in South Sudan, as humanitarian needs are higher now than ever.
The South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2016 is currently only 6.5 per cent funded, including the US$21 million of Central Emergency Response Fund allocation announced by the Secretary-General in Juba on 25 February, leaving a gap of nearly $1.21 billion dollars. Some $220 million is needed without delay to ensure that vital supplies can be procured and delivered during the dry season, before nearly 60 per cent of the country is again unreachable by road.