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U.S. demands to ensure access to conflict-affected South Sudan areas

May 30, 14 (BOR) - The United States aid arm (USAID) has urged South Sudan government to provide to assistance to international agencies providing assistance to people affected by conflict in the country.

Dina Esposit (L) and Linda Etim speaking to press at Bor airport May 30, 2014 (ST)

A team from USAID visited Jonglei state capital, Bor on Friday where they discussed with the United Nations and Catholic Relief Service (CRS) officials ways of improving the ongoing humanitarian efforts.

"The reason we are all here is because we are looking at the recovery after crisis, we are looking at what’s going on in South Sudan, to make sure that we are actually addressing the multiple aspects of recovery from health situation and food security but also education", said Linda Etim, USAID’s deputy assistant administrator for Africa.

Violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in mid-December last year, and later spread to its states of Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity. Thousands have been killed and over a million displaced ever since the conflict started six-months ago.

USAID currently supports community reconciliation and education in South Sudan.

"The transition from emergency assistance to food security to is not a short one and we are making sure that keep track of all the different aspects. The region around Bor has troubles over the past few years and I think we are going to see a situation right now where we have to double on a lot of the efforts", said Etim.

Dina Esposit, the director in the office of Food for Peace (FFP) bureau for democracy, conflict and Humanitarian assistance said inability to access the population will render efforts to reach those in need of food, shelter and health services difficult.

"First and foremost we are looking for leadership from the government to help facilitate the access so that we in partnership with Unit Nations and other groups like Catholic Relief Services can help the government provide basic services and these services involved a package of assistance", said Dina.

"We are making sure if that there is access, and then there is the capacity and resources to provide this assistance", she added.

A donor conference held in Norway last week saw close to $600m pledged for South Sudan.

(ST)