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Humanitarian Coordinator visits food insecure areas and sees response in action

The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, visited today people in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area and Akobo County in Jonglei State, and met humanitarian organizations serving communities in these highly food insecure areas.

South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since the country declared independence ten years ago. The upcoming lean season at mid-year is expected to be the most severe on record.

Since late 2020, humanitarian organizations have been intensifying their efforts to save lives and meet vulnerable people’s needs, prioritizing six counties identified as the most food insecure in South Sudan: Pibor, Akobo, Aweil South, Tonj East, Tonj North and Tonj South.

“Since early warnings started coming in about people’s conditions in these counties, humanitarian organizations adopted a ‘no-regrets’ approach and begun scaling up their services with an immediate injection of US$13 million from the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund. We knew we had to act early to avoid any further deterioration of the food security situation in these counties,” recalled Mr. Noudéhou.

“The women and children I spoke with today told me about the difference the assistance they have received has made, from emergency food distributions to nutrition, health and protection services and clean water. The sense of solidarity demonstrated by the communities we have visited is critical to sustain the response through the next months,” the Humanitarian Coordinator emphasized.

In Pibor and Akobo, the Humanitarian Coordinator met with South Sudanese and international humanitarian organizations, who are working tirelessly in difficult and often dangerous circumstances, including flooding and threats against aid workers. Despite these challenges and as part of the scale-up, more than 180,000 people across the six priority counties have been reached with emergency food assistance and other support in 2021.

Mr. Noudéhou said: “I applaud the men and women I met today, and their thousands of colleagues country-wide. They are committed to helping the most vulnerable people and strengthening communities’ resilience. Increased and timely funding is needed to sustain and expand the humanitarian response and longer-term recovery from the crisis.”

Renewed sub-national violence is hampering the response in parts of the country. In Pibor and Akobo, the Humanitarian Coordinator reiterated the need for local authorities to ensure peace and security, and the safety of humanitarian workers and assets. “Without sustained security and stability, humanitarian needs will continue to grow. I call on all relevant authorities to ensure peace in these communities. The violence must stop,” the Humanitarian Coordinator concluded.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
09 Mar 2021
Document type: 
Press Release