Juba — The United Nations said on Wednesday that aid agencies will need US$166 million in order to address the humanitarian needs of South Sudanese people affected by the violence of the last 10 days.
Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, visits locals sheltering in a temporary camp in Bentiu in South Sudan December 24, 2013, in this handout photo from the United Nations Mission In South Sudan (UNMISS).
This funding would enable the UN and its humanitarian partners to provide for South Sudanese who have been newly displaced and the 200,000 Sudanese refugees who have fled from violence north of the border until March next year.
"This is an extremely difficult time for the people of this new nation, and it is crucial that aid agencies have the resources they need to save lives in the coming months," Toby Lanzer, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, said in a statement.
"There are at least 90,000 people who have been displaced in the past ten days. This includes 58,000 people who are sheltering in UN peacekeeping bases, a number which represents only a share of all the people we need to reach in the coming weeks."
The fighting began in 15 December when Dinka and Nuer soldiers clashed in the capital. Hundreds were killed over the next few days and reports of killings along ethnic lines prompted a Nuer general in Jonglei state to lead a mutiny and take control of the state capital Bor. South Sudan's army (SPLA)said it had retaken control of the town on 24 December.
On 19 December the commander of the SPLA's division in Unity state also defected and declared himself the new governor, having taken control on Bentiu the state capital.
"In Bor and Bentiu this week, I have seen just how badly the communities caught in violence need our help," Lanzer said.
Many non-essential staff have been evacuated but Lanzer said the UN's "priorities are to stay, protect, and deliver", adding that he hoped "donors and compassionate people around the world act swiftly to give aid agencies the required resources to help the people of South Sudan at this critical juncture."
The $166 million will be used to provide clean water and sanitation, healthcare, shelter, and deliver food and livelihood assistance to refugees in South Sudan and those who have been internally displaced.
The UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it will ensure vulnerable people and survivors of violence are better protected, as well as transporting supplies to areas where communities are most at risk.
The UN Mission in South Sudan currently has over 7,000 peacekeepers in the country but this is expected to increase to 12,500 after additional troops were approved by the Security Council late on Tuesday. The United States has flown 150 Marines to the region.