UN urges unhindered access to relief in South Sudan

JUBA, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- A senior UN relief official in South Sudan on Wednesday called on all warring parties in the country to allow free, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, expressed deep concern over the impact of a series of bureaucratic impediments and access constraints on relief operations in the war-torn nation.

"Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are striving every day to save lives and alleviate suffering across this country. Yet, they continue to face obstacles and challenges which hamper their efforts. This must stop," Owusu said in a statement issued in Juba.

Owusu said the humanitarian needs in the country continued to rise due to civil conflict and economic decline.

It is estimated that about 3 million people have been displaced, including more than 1.1 million who have fled to neighboring countries, since fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar broke out in December2013.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 91 humanitarian access incidents were recorded between Nov. 1 and 28, including violence against humanitarians, interference in humanitarian action, illegal taxation and expulsion of staff.

In November, aid workers were reportedly denied access to areas outside of Yei town in Central Equatoria and Wau town in Western Bahr El Ghazal, where tens of thousands of people are in need of assistance and protection.

Owusu said there had been steps taken by the government to address the access challenges, including the establishment of a high-level humanitarian oversight committee.

"However, these recent events are a major concern and it is vital that we see the commitments made in high-level fora fully translate into real, tangible and immediate improvements in the operating environment for aid workers on the frontlines of humanitarian action," Owusu said. Enditem

[ Editor: 刘家铭 ]


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