18 Apr 2017
Ongoing insecurity is making South Sudan one of the most dangerous places to be an aid worker, a senior UN official said on Tuesday.
John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, was speaking to journalists in New York alongside counterparts from sister UN agencies.
They have recently returned from an emergency mission to South Sudan and Somalia, which is in the grip of a severe drought.
Dianne Penn reports.
The famine in South Sudan has affected some 100,000 people and another million are at risk, according to Mr Ging.
But despite the presence of a large humanitarian operation there, he said delivering aid is becoming increasingly dangerous.
He reported that 82 aid workers have been killed since fighting broke out between government and opposition forces in December 2013.
There have been 24 deaths so far this year; nine over the past month alone.
Mr Ging described the world’s youngest nation as “one of the most dangerous places for humanitarian aid workers.”
“Delivering in South Sudan is becoming more and more difficult, more and more dangerous, for humanitarian staff. And it is something that we are appealing to all in power to help because, first and foremost, our humanitarian colleagues must be respected. They are prepared to take the risks. Too many are losing their lives in that, but we have to see a much bigger effort in terms of the duty of care that everybody has to the lives of those who are out there with no agenda other than saving lives.”
Meanwhile, a US$1.6 billion appeal for South Sudan is less than 30 per cent funded.
The UN is also seeking US$864 million to respond to the drought in Somalia.
That appeal is about 70 per cent funded.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.