US$1.6 billion humanitarian appeal for South Sudan

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A humanitarian aircraft undergoing checks at Juba Airport, South Sudan. OCHA Photo

Humanitarians are appealing for US1.6 billion to address what they describe as "unprecedented needs" in South Sudan.

The "devastating combination" of conflict, economic decline and climate shocks has led to a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation there, according to UN agencies and their local and international partners.

They're calling for "swift action" ahead of the start of the rainy season in May to enable them to deliver supplies by road instead of by air, which is more costly.

Dianne Penn reports.

Humanitarian organizations will use the funds to provide life-saving assistance and protection to 5.8 million people across South Sudan this year.

Conflict between rival forces which began in December 2013 has forced 3.4 million citizens to flee their homes.

The majority, 1.9 million, are internally displaced while 1.5 million have crossed the border into neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, horrendous atrocities have been reported, such as widespread sexual violence while malnutrition and food insecurity have "skyrocketed."

Humanitarians warn that thousands in conflict-affected areas are at risk of famine if action is not taken.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, said:  "If we fail to act swiftly, lives may be lost."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 53"

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