By Bida Elly David
United Nations has warned that South Sudan is on track to face a severe humanitarian crisis, next year.
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Nicolas Haysom said there is urgent need for intervention to prevent the catastrophic consequences that could befall the country.
“South Sudan remains a state of humanitarian emergency and conditions are expected to deteriorate in 2024 due to funding shortages,” Nicholas said.
Haysom said the United Nations agencies and other humanitarian partners are overwhelmed and struggling to respond to people in need.
The UN head highlighted that the ongoing conflict in Sudan has also resulted in a high influx of refugees, leading to a humanitarian catastrophe for the South Sudanese people.
He said over 373,000 returnees and refugees have fled to South Sudan, at a time when humanitarian assistance is becoming increasingly challenging.
The official noted that insecurity against aid workers across the country will further risk the provision of assistance to the affected South Sudanese.
Mr. Haysom said that aid workers remain on the front lines of providing lifesaving support to the most vulnerable people in South Sudan, including children.
“I condemn in strongest terms attacks against Aid workers in South Sudan with assistance on reaching those in need,” he said.
He said such incidents make South Sudan one of the deadliest environments for humanitarian operators, urging the government at all levels to protect humanitarian personnel to enable them to provide effective humanitarian assistance.
The UN head also called on the government to speed up the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement to mitigate the level of insecurity across the country.
Despite the challenges, he applauded the government for taking steps towards accomplishing the items demanded by the agreement.
According to UNOCHA, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is worsening, driven by the cumulative and compounding effects of years of conflict, subnational violence, food insecurity, the climate crisis, and public health challenges.
An estimated 9.4 million people in South Sudan including 2.2 million women, 4.9 million children, and 337,000 refugees are projected to need humanitarian assistance and protection services in 2023, reflecting 76 percent of the population.
According to the report, two-thirds of the population is affected by the precarious food security situation, making South Sudan one of the world’s worst food insecurity crises.