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14:56:00, Saturday, 19 Apr 2014

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Top UN officials visit Malakal and Bentiu

8 January 2014 - Two top UNMISS officials are meeting today with families displaced by ongoing violence between pro- and anti-government forces in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity states.

In the Upper Nile capital Malakal, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hilde F. Johnson visited the internally displaced persons camp on the UNMISS base, which is currently hosting more than 12,000 people.

She also visited the UNMISS clinic, where civilians injured during the clashes are being treated.

The SRSG was accompanied by UN Police Commissioner Fred Yiga, UNMISS Deputy Force Commander Brig. Gen. Asit Mistry and other senior mission officials.

“I appreciate your courage, commitment and dedication for being here and sustaining those days,” Ms. Johnson said to UNMISS personnel who had assisted civilians during the violence.

Deputy Special Representative and Humanitarian Coordinator Toby Lanzer, was in Bentiu, Unity State, to assess the humanitarian situation there and UN response.

There are reports of large movements of civilians in the area, a UN spokesperson said. That movement is raising fears of further fighting in the area, according to media reports.

In the capital, Juba, where the situation continues to be tense, additional UN peacekeepers are patrolling the city.

They are also protecting nearly 30,000 civilians at the two UN bases in the city. An additional 32,000 people are seeking refuge at UN compounds in other parts of the country.

Food, healthcare, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene remain the top priorities for humanitarian response for those displaced. Aid agencies have also begun contingency planning for any potential additional displacement in coming weeks, and for the rainy season, due to start in May.

An estimated 201,000 people have been internally displaced by the current crisis since 15 December, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The situation at the UNMISS base in Bor, Jonglei State, where over 9,000 civilians are being protected, is becoming increasingly strained.

The mission confirmed today that it was finally able to send three flights to deliver food, as well as medically evacuate 54 civilians back to Juba. UN flights had been unable to reach the area for the past few days.

“Humanitarian access continues to be constrained by active hostilities, attacks on aid workers and assets, interference with humanitarian activities and other obstacles,” the spokesperson said, quoting OCHA.

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