UN: Safety of civilians and aid workers crucial in South Sudan

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Political turmoil has displaced thousands in South Sudan (Photo: UNMISS).

With over 200,000 people displaced by the upsurge of violence in South Sudan, the United Nations is appealing to all parties to the conflict to ensure civilians are spared from the fighting and that peace and the rule of law are restored as a matter of urgency.

United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan Toby Lanzer says aid agencies are scaling up their work especially in towns most heavily affected by violence and in rural sites where civilians have fled in order to seek safety.

Close to 60,000 internally displaced people are sheltering in United Nations bases across South Sudan.

Jens Laerke is the spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.

"The largest site of civilians in need is in Awerial, Lakes State, where up to 76,000 people have now gathered and aid agencies are now providing food, non-food items, as well basic healthcare. In the coming days we are stepping up our work and we will also make available clean water and latrines for people stuck there. We call on all parties to facilitate aid agencies' access to civilians, and to protect and respect humanitarian activities, workers, and property at all times. We have issued a plan which will enable us quickly to provide more assistance to the people most severely affected by the crisis, as well as provide ongoing help to people who left Sudan and sought refuge in South Sudan's Unity and Upper Nile states." 

According to the United Nations, aid agencies in South Sudan are still short of $ 166 million needed to provide assistance to those in need over the next three months.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1:45″

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