JUBA, South Sudan, November 20, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — “Between 17 and 20 November, I visited South Sudan, the world’s newest country. I held talks with members of the government and humanitarian partners about how aid operations can save lives while building the resilience of communities and government systems and reducing reliance on emergency responses.
I met with the Minister of Gender, Child, Social welfare, Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management who assured me of the government’s commitment to a conducive environment for humanitarian work in the country. I must stress that this is important for humanitarians to be able to support the Government of South Sudan in developing disaster risk reduction and preparedness strategies, and in improving the resilience of local communities, with particular focus on enabling women to fully participate in decision making processes.
Throughout my engagements in-country, I offered support to humanitarians who have worked tirelessly in one of the world’s toughest environments, to deliver life-saving aid to people affected by food insecurity, armed hostilities and inter-communal violence and flooding across the country. Though the overall humanitarian situation has improved in several areas of South Sudan in the past year, millions of people are still in dire need of help. In Jonglei State’s Pibor County, violence has displaced tens of thousands of people, who need protection and basic services and safety and security so that they can resume their livelihoods. In my visits with local officials, I emphasized the need to focus on resilience and long term recovery including in taking advantage of the fertile soil for which South Sudan is much endowed with. I also stressed the need to ensure that children have access to education, and that the work of humanitarians in providing emergency education and psychosocial support, particularly for young women and girls is imperative to ensure that this country’s most vital resource is protected and nurtured.
Despite the sobering scale of needs generated by the humanitarian situation, there is much to be excited about in South Sudan. Humanitarians, working closely with national authorities, have recently launched a new Consolidated Appeal for 2014-2016 introducing an innovative direction for humanitarian action. The strategy prioritizes saving lives in emergencies, building community resilience and strengthening national capacity to deliver basic services. The appeal calls for US$1.1 billion to meet the needs of 3.1 million people in 2014. I appeal to all donors and partners to stand together with the people and the government of South Sudan in this time of need.”
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