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JUBA - 21 Feb 2020

Aid agency urges new government to prioritize citizens’ needs

Food distribution in Pieri, Bieh State on 5 February, 2019. (WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua)
Food distribution in Pieri, Bieh State on 5 February, 2019. (WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua)

As plans get underway for the formation of the unity government, a humanitarian agency on Friday urged political leaders to prioritize peace and providing humanitarian access to areas gripped by food insecurity caused by extreme weather and locusts.

 “The formation of the new government presents an opportunity to start working towards a path to peace and reconciliation that has until now remained elusive,” said Alexander Davey, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in South Sudan.

“The focus of attention will logically shift towards the central government in Juba, but government representatives must no longer neglect the serious protection and humanitarian needs of their people,” he added.

An estimated 7.5 million people will need humanitarian assistance according to OCHA’s Humanitarian Needs Overview for 2020. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), some 5.5 million people were acutely food insecure in January.

The invasion of desert locusts to the Eastern Equatoria region this week could prove catastrophic for its already fragile food security situation and could increase vulnerable people´s dependence on humanitarian aid.

“The locust invasion is extremely worrying for South Sudan as the food security outlook is already bleak after floods last year, which affected nearly one million people,” Alexander said.