Juba (AFP) - South Sudan's warring parties are blocking food and medicines from reaching thousands of civilians who have fled more than three months of raging conflict, top UN aid officials warned Friday.
Around 50 trucks carrying some 2,000 tonnes of urgent aid supplies are currently held up across the war-torn nation, with officials from both government and rebel sides delaying aid by demanding paperwork or erecting multiple roadblocks, said John Ging, operations chief for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA).
"There are too many checkpoints, there are too many delays," Ging told reporters in the South Sudanese capital Juba.
"Assistance is urgently needed, people are hungry. People are in need of urgent medical life saving assistance, children need nutritional supplements. They cannot wait."
Violence erupted in South Sudan on December 15 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters loosely allied to former vice president Riek Machar.
A ceasefire between government and rebels inked in January is in tatters with fighting ongoing, and peace talks failed to resume as scheduled this week as the two sides squabble over who can attend negotiations.
"We have food in the country here and we need to get it to them," Ging said, appealing to both sides to allow aid through.
"We are in a life-saving business, there is no reason to delay," he told reporters, warning the UN were "racing against time" to deliver aid by road before torrential seasonal rains made mud tracks impassable.
Earlier this week UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous accused South Sudan of waging a campaign of harassment against peacekeepers, although government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny has insisted the government will do all it can to work with the UN.
Ging was part of a team of emergency chiefs from eight UN agencies assessing the growing humanitarian crisis in the country.
Thousands have been killed nearly one million people forced from their homes since the fighting erupted.
Huge warehouses of food aid have also been looted.
"We cannot raise money internationally for humanitarian action if every time humanitarian action is robbed...it is not acceptable," Ging added.
- Politics & Government
- Unrest, Conflicts & War
- South Sudan
- John Ging
Newer news items:
- S.Sudan peace talks resume as mediators urge return to truce - 25/03/2014
- Wounded South Sudan Soldiers Demand Unpaid Wages - 24/03/2014
- South Sudan: Peter Schumann - The Crisis Is Escalating - 22/03/2014
- South Sudan: UN, Aid Officials Plead for End to Fighting - 22/03/2014
- South Sudan: Food shortages spark friction between locals, refugees - 22/03/2014
Older news items:
- South Sudan: UN spotlights women as partners for peace - 21/03/2014
- WOMEN: UN event spotlights women of South Sudan as partners for peace - 20/03/2014
- South Sudan Conflict: West Threatens Sanctions - 20/03/2014
- South Sudan rebels, government claim oil town as talks delayed - 20/03/2014
- South Sudan recaptures oil town as talks delayed - 20/03/2014
Popular news items:
- No oil in troubled waters - 25/03/2014 - Read 20298 times
- School exam results in South Sudan show decline - Bikya Masr - 01/04/2012 - Read 18164 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 16133 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 15232 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 12766 times