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South Sudan turns a corner

NAIROBI, 15 November 2013 (IRIN) - The 2014-2016 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for South Sudan reflects an improving humanitarian situation amid a slowdown in the arrival of new refugees and returnees from Sudan and overall improvements in food security, says a senior UN official.

However, a significant proportion of the South Sudanese population still needs food and livelihood support as well as clean water, sanitation and health assistance.

“While humanitarian needs in South Sudan remain immense, the situation has shown concrete improvements on several fronts,” Vincent Lelei, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan, told IRIN.

“Humanitarian needs have reduced for the first time since 2011. The arrival of refugees from Sudan has slowed down and returns of South Sudanese have continued to decrease. Food security overall improved for many people.”

In 2014, OCHA anticipates that some 4.4 million people in South Sudan will be in humanitarian need, compared to 4.6 million in 2013. “The reduction is due to lower refugee and returnee arrivals anticipated, and less people expected to be food insecure,” added Lelei.

Of the 4.4 million, aid agencies are aiming to target the most vulnerable 3.1 million individuals in 2014. The country’s population is 12 million.

The three-year CAP requested a sum of US$1.1 billion to meet the needs of the 3.1 million ($355 per person), focusing on emergency health, food and nutrition support.

According to Lelei, humanitarian assistance will be provided across 12 sectors including: 2.3 million people who will be targeted with food and livelihood support; 2.9 million people who will be assisted with clean water and sanitation; and two million people who will be provided with health assistance.

“We anticipate that South Sudan will host 270,000 refugees by the end of next year. These people will be supported with assistance including shelter, food, education and nutritional support,” he said.

Humanitarian needs

South Sudan is home to an estimated 225,557 refugees, according to OCHA. The refugees are mainly from Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

"Humanitarian needs have reduced for the first time since 2011. The arrival of refugees from Sudan has slowed down and returns of South Sudanese have continued to decrease. Food security overall improved for many people"
In mid-October, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) appealed for humanitarian assistance for some 2,500 new Sudanese arrivals from South Kordofan in Kodok and Lelo (in Fashoda and Malakal counties respectively).

“The people we have seen in Upper Nile State [northern South Sudan] have walked 5-10 days, fleeing from their homes in Warni and Kau-Nyaro, southeastern South Kordofan State. Some explained they had left their homes due to the ongoing conflict and growing lack of food after two consecutive poor harvest seasons, as well as limited supply routes,” MSF operational manager Alberto Cristina told IRIN recently.

“They are already weak when they arrive and without humanitarian assistance their condition will only worsen.”

MSF is providing treatment to children under five at its ambulatory therapeutic feeding programme in Kodok. The organization also has mobile clinics in Lelo and Gholo areas (all in Upper Nile State, South Sudan), Cristina said.

Conflict, flooding

South Sudan has also been grappling with internal conflict in Jonglei State as well as natural disasters. In late October, the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) condemned attacks against civilians in Jonglei’s Twic East County.

An estimated 159,130 people, representing only those who have been accessed and assisted, remain internally displaced in South Sudan since January, according to OCHA, which notes that “due to access constraints, this figure under-represents the actual number of people displaced by violence in the country.”

South Sudan was also recently hit by flooding which affected some 199,003 people.

Besides its humanitarian scope, the 2014-2016 consolidated appeal will also encompass components aimed at enhancing community resilience and strengthening national capacity to deliver basic services.

“Placing resilience and national institutions at the forefront of aid work will help create a South Sudan which is better able to care for its citizens in times of crisis,” stated Awut Deng Acuil, South Sudan’s minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, speaking about the launch of the appeal on 14 November.

aw/cb

Theme (s): Food Security, Health & Nutrition, Refugees/IDPs, Water & Sanitation,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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