The head of Operations at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, John Ging, has called for more help for people and communities who have faced years of crisis in Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia.
“Each of these countries faces a unique set of challenges. But in each country, I spoke with people who have had to run from their homes again and again, fleeing successive waves of violence. I met children who have grown up never knowing peace and stability,” said Mr. Ging
According to the UNOCHA official, those in need of assistance have ‘simple demands’.
“These people had simple demands: they wanted support in rebuilding their livelihoods, educating their children and accessing medical care,” said Mr. Ging. “But above all they told me they were exhausted, and desperately wanted an end to conflict,” he said.
Mr. Ging travelled to the three countries from 18 to 25 October with representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the Netherlands.
“The challenges faced by these countries are overwhelming,” said Mr. Ging. “But in each we saw reasons for hope. In Sudan, the Government indicated a new willingness to allow humanitarian workers to access those in need of assistance. In South Sudan, the signing of a new peace agreement provides a prospect for an end to the violence which has engulfed the country. And in Somalia, we saw progress that many described as the best chance the country has had in 25 years to build lasting peace.”
In South Sudan, worsening violence has swept across the central region of the country over the past months, systematically targeting civilians. In Southern Unity state alone, some 1,600 women have been forcibly abducted since May, more than 1,000 civilians killed, 1,300 women and girls have been raped and more than 15,000 children have been recruited into armed groups.
Across East Africa, one of the most severe El Nino events on record is set to have a devastating impact in the next few months, causing an estimated 83 per cent increase in food insecurity by the start of 2016. The number in need of food assistance across the region is forecast to increase from 12 million at the start of 2015 to 22.1 million at the start of 2016, with flooding set to affect up to 3.5 million people.
These countries are some of the most dangerous in the world for humanitarian workers, with at least 10 aid workers killed in Somalia so far in 2015 and at least 34 killed in South Sudan since December 2013. Despite this, humanitarian workers continue to reach millions of people every month with lifesaving assistance.
“It is inspiring to witness the efforts our colleagues are making on the front line,” said Mr. Ging. “The international community must continue to support these efforts, and stand in solidarity with those who have been the victims of conflict for far too long.”