UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says an additional 500 million dollars is needed to deliver humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese returnees and internally displaced people (IDPs).
The UNOCHA coordinator for South Sudan, Lise Grande said this on Tuesday while addressing journalists in J.
“We need additional 500 million US dollars in order to deliver humanitarian assistance to the returnees and internally displaced people,” she said.
Grande said that the consolidated appeal by aid agencies covers 271 projects worth 776 million dollars, but so far only 32% of the funding has been secured.
Grande also note that the number of refugees is increasing drastically, with arrivals from Southern Kordofan state of Sudan averaging 550 per day in May; almost six times more than the number in March.
She added that an estimated 8000 refugees recently arrived in Maban county in Upper Nile state from Blue Nile state of Sudan.
The humanitarian coordinator said she visited the area last week and food and clean water had been provided and children were vaccinated against measles.
She told of refugees arriving exhausted and hungry after walking long distances for days.
“Many are traumatized,” she said.
Grande commended humanitarian agencies for working hard to receive the over 12,000 returnees who had been stranded in Kotsi, Sudan and started arriving in Juba on Monday.
“Many of these families have been waiting for months and months to return. We saw babies who had been born in Kosti and were coming to start a new life in a new country,” she said.
Grande said that government had agreed to provide temporary sites before transporting the returnees to their homes of origin.
“Central Equatoria state and the ministry of humanitarian affairs and disaster management and the relief and rehabilitation commission have secured a new transit site within Juba to host a larger group,” she said.
Grande said that UN agencies have to deliver emergency supplies to the places where IDPs and returnees are settled before the rains make the roads impassable.
“As humanitarians, we always hope for the best, but we have to be ready for the worst. That is why we preposition,” Grande said.
The combination of food shortfalls, conflict related displacement, agricultural disruption, a deteriorating economy and border closure are making the humanitarian situation worse, Grande said.
She added that conditions are worse for border communities where prices of basic commodities have risen between 100-200%.
“We are worried about the situation along the border. In Northern Bahr el Ghazal the price of sorghum, a staple food has doubled in just two weeks,” Grande said.
Grande said that according to assessment done by the Government of South Sudan and humanitarian agencies, 4.7 million people; half of the population is facing food insecurity in the first year of independence.
She added that the situation requires 400,000 tonnes of food.
Grande said that World Food Program (WFP) plans to reach 2.7 million people with food assistance.
She explained that food shortages are normally worst after people have planted all the crops and remain with nothing to eat as they wait for the crops to mature and harvest.
“The situation peaks during the lean season between harvests, when destitute households are unable to sustain their families and are forced to sell their assets or go hungry,” she said.
On her part, the UNHCR country representative, Mireille Girard advised people along the border to move to safer zones where they can access humanitarian assistance.
She said UNHCR will continue delivering food aid to those who have already returned home and also to those who will return later.
Girard noted that malnutrition in children is on increase.
“We will continue to distribute food as malnutrition cases are on increase and need urgent attention upon arrival,” Girard said.
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Friday, 7 September 2012