‘Peace, stability and security’ vital for South Sudan’s war-weary people, says top UN relief official

JUBA, South Sudan, 10th February, 2015 (WAM) — Continued conflict in South Sudan risks depriving the country of a generation of “lost” children, warned United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos.

Speaking at a press conference in Juba, the capital of the strife-torn nation, Ms. Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, added that continued economic stagnation would hold back development and prevent support for essential sectors like health and education.

She made her comments at the end of a three-day tour of South Sudan with UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Special Envoy, Forest Whitaker, during which the two saw the impact of the crisis on people caught in the middle of fighting.

“People need peace, stability and security,” she said in a plea to those engaged in the conflict. “It is heartrending to see the suffering of the people.” Stressing the fact the 2.5 million people urgently need help with food, she described the tour she took with Mr. Whitaker, Academy Award-winning actor and Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation, through Ayod county in Jonglei state.

“People are desperate for peace. They are tired of living in fear. Many have had to flee several times. They are exhausted. They lack water they are extremely worried for their children, who are not in school and at risk of being recruited into armed groups. Sexual violence is rife. All people want to live in safety, security and stability.” After the press conference in Juba, Ms. Amos and Mr. Whitaker flew to Nairobi, where they addressed the joint UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)-Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) High-Level Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan, where states pledged some $618 million to support the humanitarian response.