UN humanitarian chief visits South Sudan

2 Feb 2012

UN humanitarian chief visits South Sudan

1 February 2012 – One of South Sudan's biggest challenges was the hundreds of thousands of people displaced in 2011, the UN's top humanitarian official said today in the capital Juba.

Meeting with aid agency representatives at the beginning of a three-day visit, Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), said another was "people returning from Sudan and refugees from the ongoing conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan".

In addition, conflict, poverty, and increasing food insecurity are having a major humanitarian impact. The people of South Sudan need our support," Ms. Amos said.

Coming six months after South Sudan gained independence, the ERC will view the humanitarian situation on the ground and draw international attention to continuing challenges.

In South Sudan, a relatively small number of aid organizations are dealing with approximately 30 simultaneous emergency operations in the vast, remote and insecure country, which brings tremendous logistical challenges.

Aid agencies also briefed the ERC on their efforts to provide humanitarian aid in Jonglei State, the scene of recent inter-communal clashes.

"I am concerned about the scope and magnitude of the violence communities have inflicted on each other in Jonglei, as well as about the conflict between rebel militias and the army that has killed, wounded and displaced so many," Ms. Amos said.

"Diversity in South Sudan should be a source of both communal and national pride. I hope that everyone in South Sudan will embrace their identity as South Sudanese, and achieve long-term reconciliation and peace," she added.

On 2 February, the ERC will travel to Jonglei State, where she will see the aid operation first hand and meet representatives of the government and aid agencies as well as those affected by the clashes.

Ms. Amos is scheduled to meet South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Joseph Lual Acuil, Chairperson of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission Duer Tut Duer, and members of the diplomatic community on 3 February.