27th February 2021
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Peace deal changed nothing amid worsening humanitarian crisis – OCHA

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A 38 mother from Abyei told Save the Children that she has nothing to feed her three children as there is no food in the area where she lives. In 2019, floods destroyed her farm and in 2020, and she could not harvest her sorghum, groundnut and sim sim because of drought - credit | Save the Children | November 11, 2020

The United Nations humanitarian agency says the revitalized peace agreement signed two years ago has not changed the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

As of today, “a total of 72 counties in the country still face extreme humanitarian needs while five are in severe need.”

This accounts for some 8.3 million people in South Sudan estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UN OCHA, the implementation of the peace deal has not benefited the ordinary people.

It said South Sudan remained a protection crisis in 2020.

This is because the leaders have failed to restore durable peace and invest in basic services that encourage stability and sustainable development.

In the two years since the signing of the agreement, South Sudan economy has continued a downwards spiral, pushing people to the brink, especially in urban areas.

The UN organization noted that communities were also hit hard by the triple shock of intensified conflict and sub-national violence, a second consecutive year of major flooding, and the impacts of coronavirus in 2020.

It said access to essential services, including health care, education, water and sanitation, as well as protection and legal services, was already limited and much of the service infrastructure was damaged, destroyed or closed in the same year.

“Insecurity, lack of basic services, and unresolved housing, land and property as issues that prevented people from returning home in large numbers,” it mentioned.

Some 1.6 million people have remained internally displaced and another 2.2 million as refugees in the region since 2013.

In an overview of humanitarian needs report released Jan. 26, UN OCHA said people’s coping mechanisms weakened as a consequence of the cumulative shocks, leading families to adopt negative practices such as forced labor and child marriage.

“Women and girls continued to face extreme levels of gender-based violence and psychosocial distress,” it disclosed.

These conditions of physical and mental wellbeing, living standards and coping mechanisms are expected to further deteriorate in 2021.

UN OCHA estimates that 8 million South Sudanese women, men, girls and boys and 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers will require food assistance.

This is an 800,000 increase in absolute numbers from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020.

According to the intersectoral severity of needs analysis, humanitarian shortages are most concerning in Pibor County in Jonglei which was classified as the only county in catastrophic need.

UN OCHA underscored the importance of ending violence against aid workers and assets, and allowing unhindered access to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in need.

It concluded that humanitarian assistance delivered to more than 6 million people in 2020 kept communities from falling into deeper need.

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