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JUBA - 3 Feb 2023

‘Urgent attention needed to tackle worrying GPAA humanitarian situation’-NGO forum

The South Sudan NGO Forum has said that amidst the recent wave of violence in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) between rival communities, a worsening catastrophe is unfolding, putting women, children, and the elderly on the brink of another humanitarian crisis.

Inter-communal conflict & violence that started before Christmas of 2022 and into most of January 2023 in Greater Pibor have left about 50,000 people displaced and in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

“The situation is worsening and all those displaced have already had horrific two years of floods coming back to back,” the statement said. “Recently, the Rapid Response Fund by the UN was allocated to support immediate short-term gaps in the Pibor response, but NGOs are concerned that the conditions will continue to deteriorate as people require food and shelter.”

The forum said that despite the efforts by NGOs to provide critical basic needs, the population in Pibor lives in pessimism as the already dire situation may even worsen.

The statement also said that while the humanitarian response continues, the forum is appalled by the risks agencies and their assets are exposed to in the line of saving lives.

Cissy Kagaba, the director of the NGO Forum secretariat said several armed attacks and break-ins into NGO compounds in Pibor and Gumuruk have left humanitarian workers requiring medical attention.

“Attacks on humanitarian workers and assets delay delivery of life-saving and life-changing assistance in response to people critically affected by violence and other shocks,” she said. “So far, in 2023, three aid workers of South Sudanese origin have lost their lives in the line of duty. Such actions discourage humanitarian workers from playing their role while also watering down any effort to build on past gains.”

The NGO Forum called on the international community and their national counterparts to act immediately as the safety of humanitarians and a robust humanitarian response will mitigate the loss of lives.

“We urge the communities to respect the values that come with hosting displaced people,” the statement said. “Securing humanitarian agencies’ assets and humanitarian workers is paramount in ensuring communities are better served and suffering is alleviated.”

The NGO Forum also said it is concerned about the looming escalation of violence in Upper Nile and called on all parties involved to exercise restraint.