World Bulletin/News Desk
The UN announced Tuesday that some $1.8 billion in aid relief was needed for the people of war-ravaged South Sudan.
"Aid organizations need $1.8 billion to implement the response plan for 2015," the UN's humanitarian aid coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, told a press conference in Juba.
"Some $600 million is needed by the end of February to take advantage of the dry season, during which we can reach more people by road and pre-position supplies for the rest of the year," he said.
Lanzer added that $60 million had already been received from donors.
"We're kick-starting the operation right now, before the New Year," he told reporters.
"We are going into January already able to keep the operation going, and when we can get $600 million by February, we will keep the operation working, pre-position supplies and use the dry season as much as possible," added the UN official.
South Sudan descended into chaos one year ago following a power struggle within the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
On December 15 of last year, full-blown conflict erupted, which President Salva Kiir was quick to portray as a coup attempt by his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar, and the latter's supporters.
In the one year since, the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, displaced nearly two million people and left about four million people at risk of food insecurity, according to humanitarian agencies.
"If the crisis continues, it will affect more than one in two South Sudanese," said Lanzer. "Over 6.4 million people will be in need; 2.5 million will face severe food insecurity; and up to 1.9 million will be internally displaced."
The UN humanitarian aid coordinator went on to warn that if the education sector continued to be affected, the country's future would be bleak.
"The sad truth is that South Sudan won't go very far in the future if 80 percent [of the population] can't read and write," he lamented. "You need a massive campaign in education. There is need to enroll more women in school."
"I find it very outrageous that 1 in 50 women die in childbirth. That is not right," he added.
Lanzer also warned that if supplies were not pre-positioned early and roads not improved, humanitarian aid deliveries would be sorely hampered.
"It will mean millions of people will not get assistance. Transport costs are very high even by road, but [they are] 15 or 20 times higher by air," he said.
Lanzer estimated that tens of thousands could die from preventable diseases, while hundreds of thousands would not be able to rebuild their shattered livelihoods.
"The more we can do by road, the more help we can provide to more people; and the less we can do by road, the less help we can provide," he asserted.
The UN official said humanitarian operations for 2014 had been successful, despite impediments to access in some areas and rampant insecurity.
"Donors have contributed over $1.3 billion to the 2014 crisis response plan for South Sudan," he told reporters. "Humanitarian aid reached 3.5 million people, one million of them in remote locations."
"We were going by air to over 100 destinations [for affected people] with over 300 flights a week, and few of them had problems," he added.
Lanzer also pointed out that nearly one million children had been vaccinated against measles and polio.
"Nearly 100,000 people living at the UN bases were provided with life-saving and sustaining support," he said.
Lanzer asked all parties in the country's ongoing conflict to respect aid workers and to provide them with access to affected populations.
"The authorities of the armed factions, we do demand that you respect the sanctity of aid workers, whether they are South Sudanese or guests in your country," he said.
"The killing of six aid workers in Maban [in early August] was outrageous," the UN official said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Aralık 2014, 14:49