By Mamer Abraham
Government of Britain calls for protection of aid workers and removal of stumbling blocks impeding humanitarian access routes in South Sudan.
Deputy Development Director of the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office, Jakesh Mahey, said the removal of checkpoints would allow smooth shipping of humanitarian assistance across the country.
His call came when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UNFAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 2023 report.
The IPC report showed a slim improvement in the projected acute food insecurity in South Sudan projected next year at 7.1 million people, unlike the one for 2023 that was projected last year to be 7.76 million.
“In addition, we call on the government to improve the conditions for aid delivery and to take actions to provide peace and security, including to protect aid workers. To reduce bureaucratic impediments and checkpoints,” he urged.
For her part, the minister for agriculture and food security, Josephine Lagu, noted the concern and appeal of the development partners and UN agencies.
“I have listened very carefully to the remarks of all our development partners, and I have also noted that they have expressed a willingness to continue supporting our people with humanitarian support,” Josephine said.
She noted the concern over the removal of illegal checkpoints and vowed that the government would take the responsibility to ensure that its people are food secure.
“I have taken note of their concern to ensure that the government removes any impediment to humanitarian delivery,” she continued.
“I have also taken note of the strong expression, and I think rightly so, that the government must take its responsibility first and foremost to ensure that the people of South Sudan don’t continue to suffer from food insecurity,” Josephine emphasized.
The government of South Sudan has always been accused of not protecting aid workers, as well as the action of security organs to barricade humanitarian aid in demand for hefty pay.