Head of OCHA South Sudan Visits Aweil

4 Jun 2012

Head of OCHA South Sudan Visits Aweil

4 June 2012 – The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan Giovanni Bosco has lauded the work of humanitarian agencies in Northern Bahr El-Ghazal state.

Mr. Bosco came to the state today to assess humanitarian operations following the recent displacement of civilians from areas near the international border with Sudan where fighting has taken place.

He said that in spite of major challenges, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are providing the necessary assistance for internally displaced persons.

"The major challenges are related to security," said Mr. Bosco, who was accompanied on the trip by the UNMISS Chief Security Adviser Savita Hande. "I have travelled here to see how it is possible to create an environment in which humanitarian operations will be able to continue smoothly."

Over 16,000 people have been displaced since last March, and reports of escalating hostilities between Sudanese and South Sudanese forces have been received in the past two weeks.

Although Northern Bahr El-Ghazal Governor Lt. Gen. Paul Malong Awan told a public rally in the state capital of Aweil last week that the Sudan People's Liberation Army had driven the Sudan Armed Forces away from the state, the situation remains tense and the continued fighting has affected the ability of humanitarian agencies to reach displaced civilians.

"Only a few NGOs have deployed and there is a lack of capacity in areas of psycho-social support and nutrition," Mr. Bosco said, adding that he had received briefings from representatives of various UN agencies and NGOs about their level of preparedness and the constraints they are facing.

During his stay, the head of OCHA in South Sudan spoke with Deng Kuel Kuel, the state coordinator of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, and also visited a settlement of southerners near Aweil who have moved back to South Sudan.

Northern Bahr El-Ghazal has received an estimated 76,000 people who have moved from Sudan to South Sudan since October 2010.