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South Sudan remains the most dangerous place for aid workers: UN official

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Women wait to receive food by ICRC at a site in Leer County region of South Sudan on April 11, 2017 (AP photo)
September 17, 2020 (JUBA) - South Sudan is always one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, said United Nations aid chief Mark Lowcock in a briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday.

Lowcock in his briefing to the 15-member body spoke about the humanitarian situation in South Sudan and outlook in the coming months and the protection of civilians and aid workers.

He said that about 7.5 million South Sudanese are in need of humanitarian assistance as the country is facing a situation close to 2017 famine.

However, he pointed to the safety of civilians remains at risk due to the increase of violence in the country. He added that hundreds were killed and 157,000 people fled their areas.

“South Sudan also remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an aid worker. At least 122 aid workers have been killed since 2013,” he further said.

He stressed that the operational environment is now deteriorating again as a result of increased violence, despite an improvement of 2019.

“This year, seven aid workers have been killed. Another 144 have had to be evacuated and relocated as a result of threats to their security,” he said.

According to the international official, aid supplies have been looted on at least 17 occasions. Also, a number of health centres have been forced to suspend activities, interrupting life-saving services; he said.

The intercommunal violence, flooding, and COVID-19 have contributed to the large deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Sudan despite the 2018 peace agreement and the formation of the transitional cabinet.

The UN aid chief said the risk of famine is emerging again in the areas that witnessed tribal violence.

“Famine-like conditions are reported in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area,” he said before to add “The violence in these areas has destroyed livelihoods, forced people to flee their homes, and driven down food production”.

(ST)

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