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UN, donors meet in Kenya over humanitarian crisis in S.Sudan

10 February 2015, 11:32

Nairobi - Senior officials from UN and international aid agencies are meeting in Nairobi on Monday in response to the worsening humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.

The high-level meeting, hosted jointly by UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), will provide an opportunity to mobilize funding, and agree on actions needed to ensure continued humanitarian access and protection of civilians.

"Hostilities in South Sudan are now into their second year. The political situation remains fragile and the humanitarian outlook is grim," said a statement from the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued in Nairobi.

OCHA said some 6.4 million people are food insecure and nearly 2.5 million people face acute hunger right now in South Sudan, with thousands of children suffering from malnutrition. Already, aid agencies have appealed for 1.81 billion U.S. dollars to respond to the humanitarian crisis in 2015.

The meeting, being attended by Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary- General and Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary, is taking place against a backdrop of stalled negotiations on ending the conflict, which begun on Dec. 15, 2013 in South Sudan that has taken an estimated 50,000 lives.

Also read: UN agencies appeal for upkeep of S. Sudan refugees

The two will be joined at the Nairobi session by Anne Richard, head of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

According to UN, 600 million dollars is needed by February for the dry season, which lasts until May, to enable aid agencies to take advantage of access by road and river to reach more people in need and preposition supplies. And an additional 810 million dollars is needed in 2015 for the South Sudan Refugee Response Plan.

The crisis also has a regional impact. Approximately 490,000 South Sudanese have fled the country since December 2013 and more are expected to flee in 2015.

The security situation in South Sudan has deteriorated since political fighting between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, started in mid-December 2013. The hostilities subsequently turned into a full-fledged conflict that has sent nearly 100,000 civilians fleeing to United Nations bases around the country.

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- Xinhua

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