The delivery of humanitarian aid to violence-ravaged South Sudan faces major obstacles, says a United Nations official.
Aid workers encounter hostility and even death threats on a regular basis in South Sudan and also grapple with severe logistic shortcomings, said Kyung-wha Kang, the UN deputy emergency relief coordinator and UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, on Thursday.
According to reports, 13 aid workers have lost their lives in the restive country since November 2013.
Despite difficulties, humanitarian workers have played a positive role in the crisis-torn African country, providing 3.5 million people with different kinds of assistance, averting a famine and suppressing a cholera outbreak, Kang added.
She warned that the threat of a deadly famine still looms large over South Sudan, saying that aid organizations require $600 million to launch their 2015 operations there.
According to UN statistics, fatal clashes in South Sudan have displaced around 1.9 million people, with thousands taking refuge in the camps of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
South Sudan plunged into violence in December 2013, when fighting erupted between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy Riek Machar around the capital, Juba.
The conflict soon turned into an all-out war between the army and the defectors, with the violence taking on an ethnic dimension that pitted the president’s Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.