8th December 2023
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Sudan war worsens South Sudan’s dire humanitarian crisis – OCHA

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Hundreds of returnees and refugees being ferried from Upper Nile border areas. (UNHCR/Facebook).

The conflict in Sudan has exacerbated South Sudan’s humanitarian situation, with hundreds of thousands of displaced and local communities suffering overlapping crisis from flooding and food insecurity to the impact of funding constraints, a UN agency said.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says from April 15 to October 13, 2023, South Sudan has received more than 310,000 new arrivals including refugees and an overwhelming number of returnees.

UNOCHA said the influx is expected to continue with many new arrivals extremely vulnerable and in need of immediate assistance.

“Nobody had imagined that six months on, we would still be witnessing such large daily inflows,” said Marie-Helene Verney, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator to South Sudan.

“As the weeks go by, people arrive with less and less resources and in increasingly worse states of health, with malnutrition also on the rise among new arrivals as conditions in Sudan deteriorate further,” she added.

The agency said the country continues to face “overlapping crises, including floods, conflict and food insecurity – all of which adversely affect the resilience and vulnerability of people across the country.”

“Disruptions in cross-border trade and humanitarian corridors have led to increased prices of food and commodities, particularly in the northern half of the country where most of the new arrivals are settling,” it said in a statement.

“This has worsened food insecurity and compounded acute humanitarian needs for the existing population, as well as the new arrivals.”

It further adds that poor infrastructure and in particular lack of roads, flooding and funding constraints are severely testing the capacity of humanitarian actors to respond both at the border and in receiving communities, as well as putting pressure on onward transportation, which remains the most critical need in this response.

Acting Humanitarian Coordinator, Marie-Helene Verney further said additional humanitarian access constraints, such as increased threats against humanitarian personnel and looting of assets, continue to challenge the already difficult humanitarian response.

“This crisis has stretched the humanitarian response in South Sudan close to breaking point. With no end in sight, a global decrease in humanitarian funding and more new conflicts breaking out around the world, humanitarian partners are increasingly forced to deprioritize even life-saving activities,” she said.

“In such a context, the Government of South Sudan is called upon to step up the delivery of basic services in vulnerable communities, with the support of development actors.”

The agency appeals for additional funding to provide adequate space in overcrowded transit centres to reduce the risks of disease outbreaks and gender-based violence.

It also calls for support to children fleeing the Sudan conflict to resume learning and help reduce protection risks, such as child marriage, child labor and recruitment of child soldiers.

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