Channel1 Los Angeles
07 de Junio de 2018

The ongoing conflict in South Sudan must be brought to an end to ease the humanitarian suffering of a steadily growing number of people in the country, the United Nations top relief official underscored after a recent visit there.

Some 7.6 million people need aid across the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, after long-simmering a political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar erupted into full-fledged conflict in December 2013.

More than half of those in need – nearly 4.3 million – are displaced, including about 2.5 million who have fled to neighbouring countries. In addition, there is growing food insecurity, as well as the threat of deadly diseases such as cholera and malaria.

At the same time, the country is one of the most dangerous for humanitarian workers. Last year, 30 aid workers lost their lives – making it the deadliest year for aid workers on record. In addition, at least 1,159 humanitarian access incidents were reported, up from 908 in 2016 and 909 in 2015.

Against this backdrop, Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, recently went to the country to draw attention to the crisis, as well as drum up international support for the ongoing relief effort.

In Part 1 of our exclusive interview with Mr. Lowcock, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN News asked him about his mission and greatest humanitarian needs on the ground.

UN News: Mr. Lowcock, you just left South Sudan. What are the greatest challenge on the ground?

Mark Lowcock: The single biggest challenge is the fact that the conflict is going on and the consequences of the conflict are getting worse. There is fragmentation of the country as the Government is unable to provide peace and security in very large parts of the nation, which means that people are displaced.

As the conflict has gone on and worsened, the numbers of people in need of assistance has simply continues to grow

There are millions of people displaced within South Sudan, and also millions of refugees [outside its borders]. That means that their previous livelihoods – typically, rural farming livelihoods where they were able to sustain themselves have gone, and they are becoming increasingly reliant on international assistance.

Last year, the UN reached 5.4 million people inside South Sudan with humanitarian assistance. But as the conflict has gone on and worsened, the numbers of people in need of assistance has simply continues to grow.

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