Humanitarian Coordinator Calls For Unhindered Access To Assist People In Juba

“It is tragic that civilians, including those forced to flee their homes during this latest round of fighting, continue to suffer immensely at a time when there were high hopes of a return to stability in South Sudan,”

Humanitarian Coordinator Calls For Unhindered Access To Assist People In Juba
Mr. Eugene Owusu, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan. [Youtube Photo]

JUBA, 12 July 2016 [Gurtong]-Following days of clashes in Juba that have left tens of thousands of people displaced, and hundreds killed or injured, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan has called for swift, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need.

“It is tragic that civilians, including those forced to flee their homes during this latest round of fighting, continue to suffer immensely at a time when there were high hopes of a return to stability in South Sudan,” said Mr. Eugene Owusu, Humanitarian Coordinator.

“I call on all parties to restore and maintain calm throughout the country, protect civilians, and ensure civilian freedom of movement.” he said

Estimates indicate that more than 36,000 people were displaced at the height of the fighting and sought shelter in various locations throughout Juba, including the UNMISS base in Tongping, UN House in Jebel, WFP compound, ADRA compound, and several churches across the city.

Most of the displaced were women and children. While some have begun to return home, others remain concerned for their safety.

“Humanitarian partners have activated our contingency plan for Juba and are mobilising assistance for people affected by these tragic events,” said Mr. Owusu.

“We urgently call on all concerned to guarantee safe and unhindered access for humanitarian organisations to ensure that we are able to reach all people in need, including in locations hardest-hit by the fighting.”

During the clashes, some humanitarian facilities, compounds and warehouses - including a maternity ward in a Protection of Civilians site - were hit by shelling and gunfire.

“I have stressed this before, and I must stress it again: destruction and damage to humanitarian facilities and violence against aid workers are unacceptable and must stop” said Mr. Owusu.

Prior to the eruption of fighting in Juba, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan was already dire, with unprecedented levels of food insecurity and one in five people displaced. The 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan for South Sudan is currently just 40 per cent funded -$508 million received out of $1.3 billion required – and additional resources are urgently required to respond to the growing needs.

“I urge major donors to step up and support humanitarian action and the large numbers of people in South Sudan who are in dire need of assistance,” said Mr. Owusu.
 

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