UN peacekeepers "urgently deployed" to support South Sudan aid effort

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Access to safe water is vital for thousands of civilians sheltering in and around Aburoc, South Sudan. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell

UN peacekeepers were urgently deployed on Sunday to aid around 50,000 South Sudanese sheltering in the town of Aburoc, in the Upper Nile region.

The civilians fled to the town on the west bank of the Nile, to escape a series of clashes between government and opposition forces.

Matthew Wells reports.

The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) David Shearer, said that the deployment of blue helmets was a short-term effort "in response to an immediate need".

The aim, he said, was to provide humanitarian groups with "the confidence they need" to provide urgent aid to the displaced, forced to flee their homes to the south.

The most pressing need, Mr Shearer added, was for safe drinking water, without which there could easily be an outbreak of diarrhoea or even the deadly disease cholera.

"It is vital that our humanitarian partners are able to get this water and other aid through to alleviate the suffering" he added.

Mr Shearer also stated that government SPLA forces had acknowledged the blue helmets were deploying, purely to help provide life-saving assistance to those stranded in and around Aburoc.

Famine has been declared in parts of the world's youngest country, where millions are displaced and in desperate need, following years of brutal civil war.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 51"

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