South Sudan: UN Ramps Up Aid Efforts, Urges Conflict Parties to Ensure Humanitarian Access

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The plan includes provision of protection, water, food, shelter and healthcare, Mr. Laerke said, adding that overall, it targets some 628,000 people over the next three months, and agencies will need $166 million from international donors to implement it.

Mr. Laerke recalled that yesterday, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, briefing reporters in New York, expressed deep concern about ongoing reports of disturbing, gross violations of human rights, and the lack of protection of civilians in South Sudan.

Ms. Amos had stressed that aid organizations needed access to affected communities to provide healthcare, shelter and clean water. "People's lives depend on this," she had said.

Mr. Laerke noted that OCHA's planning took into consideration that the number of internally displaced persons might double in the coming three months.

On other fronts, UNMISS, reported yesterday that it continues to protect around 57,000 civilians across the country. It also reported a drop in the number of civilians at its Malakal base and Bor base. The numbers have been fluctuating in recent days.

In addition, UNMISS said that 246 police officers from two Formed Police Units have deployed to South Sudan to strengthen security and order for civilians seeking refuge inside its bases. A medical team from the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) arrived today in Juba to bolster support at the UN Juba bases. Logistical support for air operations is being provided by the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO.

In a New Year message to the people of South Sudan, UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson said Wednesday that both the leaders of IGAD and the United Nations were calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the release of all political detainees, political dialogue and humanitarian access. She called on the parties to take decisive steps for peace.

Ms. Johnson also emphasized that all violence must stop, and warned against the risk of a cycle of violence between communities in South Sudan. She said that accountability for grave human rights violations will be essential to prevent this cycle of violence, and reported that the Mission's human rights teams continue to gather evidence for use in future accountability measures.

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