United Nations emergency response officials called on the warring sides in South Sudan to stop fighting to alleviate the suffering of the country's people, who are facing extreme hardship as unrest goes into a fourth month and the rainy season looms.

"We appeal to everybody, at every level, with any influence, with any authority, with any capacity, to help to bring this conflict to an end," John Ging, who oversees field operations around the world for the U.N. Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a news conference in Juba.

Ging was part of a team from eight humanitarian agencies -- OCHA, the UN refugee and children's agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Program, World Health Organization, Danish Refugee Council, and International Organization for Migration -- who wrapped up a three-day visit to South Sudan Friday, during which they traveled around the country to assess the needs of hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

After an hour on a make-shift canoe, we reached an island where 2,000 civilians were sheltering under trees.

Ging said he saw displaced people, mostly women and children, who are going without food in U.N. protection sites and camps under government and rebel control. He called on all parties to the conflict to do something to stop the suffering.

"The people of this country truly deserve a future which is peaceful; a future in which they can build the potential of this country," Ging said.

He warned government and opposition forces to stop looting humanitarian organizations' warehouses and offices, saying it made it more difficult to convince international donors to help South Sudan if they think the aid they give will end up in the hands of looters.

"We are only here to help the people of this country. We cannot raise money internationally for humanitarian action if every time the humanitarian supplies are stolen, the humanitarian vehicles are robbed and so on," he said.

Aid agencies including the World Food Program (WFP) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have reported that their offices, hospitals and warehouses have been looted during the fighting in the country.

Source http://allafrica.com/stories/201403220012.html

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