New York, US - UN agencies and their humanitarian partners in South Sudan have launched a revised appeal, calling for US$ 1.27 billion to help more than 3 million people who continue to suffer the consequences of the conflict in the strife-torn country.
A UN statement, obtained by PANA in New York on Wednesday, quoted Mr. Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, as saying: 'The priority is to save lives now, and ensure that we have food, medicine and other life-saving supplies prepositioned in the field, in easy reach of aid agencies before the rains hit and the roads become impassable'.
Mr. Lanzer said the Crisis Response Plan was revised to reflect the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, noting that, 'nearly 60 per cent of the funding will go towards pre-positioning of vital aid supplies before the rainy season starts in June'.
He said: 'I ask the international donor community to stand with the people of South Sudan and the aid agencies working here to help them before the situation gets even worse.'
Meanwhile, a team from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is in Sudan's West Kordofan state to assess the needs of civilians fleeing the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
The agency has provided one month of emergency rations to 7,489 South Sudanese who have fled to South Kordofan and White Nile states,.
WFP spokesperson, Ms. Elisabeth Byrs, said that WFP is appealing for US$ 58 million for its operations in South Sudan, which are only 30 per cent funded.
An estimated 10,000 people have also crossed into Sudan's South and West Kordofan states, which are themselves facing armed violence, according to figures reported last month by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The fighting broke out when simmering tensions boiled over in the wake of a political dispute between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir's forces and those of former deputy president Riek Machar in mid-December.
Both sides signed a ceasefire agreement, mediated by the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa last month.
Over 80,000 civilians are currently protected by UNMISS at eight of its compounds throughout the country, with 43,000 civilians in Juba alone.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), relief agencies are scaling up the response to assist 3.2 million people through June, based on rigorous prioritization.
This includes relief for displaced people and host communities, refugees, and others whose lives and livelihoods are at immediate risk.
Aid organizations also plan to provide emergency relief, uphold people's rights and strengthen livelihoods.
OCHA underscored that the conflict, which erupted on 15 December, 2013, has shattered the lives of millions of people, leading to devastating humanitarian consequences.
'Almost 900,000 have been driven from their homes and thousands more have been hurt or wounded as a direct result of hostilities.
'Also, livelihoods have been lost and people's ability to move livestock to pasture, to fish or to hunt, has been severely compromised,' it stated.