UN: South Sudan Blocks Aid

UN: South Sudan Blocks AidUN: South Sudan Blocks Aid

South Sudan’s government is blocking food aid and restricting United Nations peacekeepers, according to the UN.

After a two-day visit, UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, said on Monday that obstacles to humanitarian assistance included active hostility, access denials and bureaucratic impediments, Aljazeera reported.

“People have been displaced, brutalized and raped. They have been attacked when they sought out assistance. This must stop and it must stop now,” O’Brien said in a statement.

Obtained by AP, an internal report to Security Council members from Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, criticized the government for “the destruction of all the social fabric in all parts of the country” and listed “outrageous” examples of belligerence by South Sudan’s security forces.

Sent on February 13, Guterres’ letter said UN peacekeepers were recently prevented from verifying allegations of killings or arbitrary arrests of civilians, including in the town of Yei.

In late February, armed groups and members of the local community looted the compound and warehouse of Save the Children, a humanitarian organization, in the northern Jonglei area.

The group was the only distributor of food aid in the area, which is on the brink of famine.

“This is the most extreme act by the very people we are trying to help,” Peter Walsh, South Sudan director for Save the Children, said in a statement.

“It is critical that parties to the conflict provide unimpeded humanitarian access to the affected community to avoid famine becoming their death sentence.”

An estimated 100,000 people are experiencing famine and another one million people are on the brink of starvation, South Sudan’s government and UN agencies said in late February.

South Sudan is now Africa’s largest producer of migrants, as more than three million people have either fled the country or become internally displaced, according to the UN.

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