By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations and partners have inaugurated a $1.7-billion Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for South Sudan, to meet the needs of some 6.8 million vulnerable people in 2022.
The funding will be used to provide urgent life-saving assistance and protection in a country where it is estimated more than two thirds of the population, nearly nine million people, require aid relief.
“The cumulative and compounding effects of years of climate-related shocks such as flooding and drought, conflict and subnational violence have destroyed people’s homes and livelihoods.
“It has also robbed the people of the future they deserve,” Ms Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, said.
She added that despite these challenges, “affected communities have continued to demonstrate a great sense of resilience, solidarity and creativity.”
Nyanti urged the government, development partners, donors and humanitarian organisations, to match their solidarity with “unwavering support.”
This year, some 8.9 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance.
The HRP will target 6.8 million of the most vulnerable in the country, where over two million people are displaced, many of them for years.
Humanitarians further estimate that 8.3 million people, including refugees, are expected to face severe food insecurity by the peak of the lean season, which runs from May to July.
Large scale flooding is also expected for a fourth year in a row, along with the destruction and displacement that accompanies it.
In the face of climate shocks and other obstacles, humanitarians continue to deliver aid to millions in South Sudan.
In 2021, they assisted more than 5.3 million people, providing them with food, health, water and sanitation, education, livelihoods and nutrition, along with critical protection services.
Nyanti said the HRP reflected a commitment to protect vulnerable people, especially women and girls, the elderly, and those with ability challenges.
“Sexual and other forms of violence continue to be a major problem in South Sudan, thus, protection is at the centre of everything we do.
“A collective response to prevent and respond to violence, especially against women and girls, is essential,” she said.
According to her, those who commit such crimes must be brought to justice, and humanitarians must continue to work with development and other partners to ensure the root causes of increasing humanitarian needs are addressed.