Sh54.6bn needed to fight hunger in South Sudan, UN says

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Children play with a suitcase in a IDP camp for the Nuer ethnic group inside the UNMISS compound in Bor, South Sudan, on February 27, 2014. Thousands have been killed and almost 900,000 forced from their homes by battles between rebel and government forces. AFP PHOTO | JM LOPEZ

NEW YORK: International aid organisations are scheduled to meet in Nairobi on Monday in response to the worsening hunger crisis in war-torn South Sudan.

The United Nations relief coordinator, officials of East African governments and a US assistant secretary of state are among those taking part in the event that will discuss the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and its impact in the region.

The UN says donors must provide $600 million in February for aid to reach remote parts of South Sudan, where food stocks are running low.

“The humanitarian outlook is grim,” the UN observed.

According to the UN, a total of $1.8 billion is needed this year to help feed nearly nine million South Sudanese.

An additional $809 million is being sought to assist close to half-a-million refugees who have fled South Sudan.

PEACE AGREEMENT

The day-long meeting at the UN complex in the Kenyan capital is taking place at the backdrop of negotiations on ending a year-long conflict in South Sudan.

World leaders have repeatedly called for an end to the fighting.

On Friday, a South Sudan-focused “troika” consisting of the US, United Kingdom and Norway urged the warring sides to reach a peace agreement by March 5.

The three countries said they are “profoundly disappointed” by the ongoing failure to resolve the conflict,

“Humanitarian aid can only be effective if the government of South Sudan, opposition forces and all other parties to the conflict stop fighting and remove obstacles to the delivery of life-saving assistance,” the US State Department said on Friday.

Valerie Amos, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, will be joined at the Nairobi session by Anne Richard, head of the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

The high-level event is being co-sponsored by the UN and by East Africa’s Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.

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