By Tiamiyu Arobani/New York
The UN said since fighting first erupted in South Sudan three years ago, tens of thousands have died while food insecurity and acute malnutrition are at unprecedented levels.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said more than three million people had been driven from their homes, according to a humanitarian report on South Sudan.
The UNOCHA said the fighting and economic decline in the world’s youngest nation had also made millions of its people more susceptible to disease.
“This year, more than two million cases of malaria were reported between January and November, and a cholera outbreak caused some 3,525 cases in nine locations, all figures higher than those the previous year.”
It said a measles outbreak has been confirmed in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal state, bringing the number of country-wide outbreaks in 2016 to 13, more than twice the number in 2015.
“On Dec. 13, 2016 alone, 7,046 people from South Sudan crossed the border into Uganda seeking refuge.
“Many refugees leaving South Sudan reported that they left due to the deteriorating security situation.
“This includes fighting in Yei and Wonduruba areas, looting of properties, and rumours of upcoming attacks by armed actors in the Equatorias.
“They also spoke of horrific abuses, including rape, abduction and killing, the bulletin mentioned.
“Women and children continued to remain the most vulnerable and accounted for nearly 86 per cent of the total number reaching Uganda.”
The report said civilians had continued to be displaced within the country.
“For instance, in Western Equatoria state, there are now an estimated 28,000 people displaced from Yambio, 16,000 displaced from Ezo, and 50,000 displaced from Mundri East, Mundri West and Mvolo.
“Also, more than 17,000 children are estimated to have been recruited by armed actors, including some 1,300 recruited in 2016.
“Humanitarian organisations and personnel too reported significant challenges reaching people who desperately need aid.
“Some roads in the Eastern Equatoria state were described as impassable for security reasons while in other places, humanitarian convoys had to spend hours negotiating access.”
The UN humanitarian agency particularly expressed worry about the expulsion of the Country Director of a humanitarian organisation and the order for a second senior staff of the same organisation to leave the country.
The UN OCHA said between January to November 2016, 831 humanitarian access incidents were reported, including 66 incidents of looting of humanitarian supplies.
“For instance, in Unite State’s Nhialdu area, where fighting in November had forced the relocation of humanitarian staff on the ground, tents and supplies at a relief “light-weight” base camp amounting to some 100,000 U.S. dollars were completely looted.
“Shelters were destroyed, and the market burnt down; unexploded ordnance were also found in the area as a result of the fighting.”
OCHA said funding continues to remain a major challenge with just ten days left in 2016.
According to it, only 83 per cent or 1.1 billion dollars of the humanitarian appeal for the country’s 1.29 billion dollars for 2016 had been received