Children at great risk of death in South Sudan, says Lanzer

17 Jun 2014

Children at great risk of death in South Sudan, says Lanzer

14 June 2014 - Low funding for nutrition and protection programmes could result in death of 50,000 children this year if they do not get assistance, South Sudan’s humanitarian chief said in Juba today.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Toby Lanzer was speaking at a media briefing during which he released an updated crisis response plan, which aims to reach 3.8 million people by December.

Humanitarian actors had three main goals: To save lives, prevent a famine and avert the loss of a generation and young people to this conflict, Mr. Lanzer said.

“The situation is so dire that we cannot attempt to do more at this time,” he added, noting that over 1.4 million people had been uprooted from their homes and over seven million were at risk of hunger.

He noted however that the ability to assist people in need would depend on high-level commitment of warring parties to full access for aid workers and the availability of funds for relief work.

“Fighting and displacement has already shattered the lives of millions of people,” said Mr. Lanzer. “The commitment of NGOs (non-governmental agencies) and UN agencies to the people of South is steadfast and resolute but we need to things to do our work… With those things in place, we will deliver.”

The humanitarian chief revealed that of the $1.8 billion required to implement the 2014 South Sudan Crisis Response Plan, $740 million had already been mobilized.

“This leaves a gap of just over $1 billion or only $1.50 per day for each person to be assisted,” he said. “Aid organizations have reached 1.9 million people so far. With sufficient resources, we will be able to do much more.”

Mr. Lanzer stressed however that it was important for all parties to recognize that international aid efforts should be a supplement to what the government and people are doing and not a main contribution.

“There is a palpable sense of fear in many parts of the country,” he said. “It has been a very trying six months for very many people. To expect them to just go home and restart their lives normally would be a bit much to ask. There is need for a thorough process of rebuilding trust and confidence.”