UPPER NILE, South Sudan: Following an outbreak of violence in Tonga in the Upper Nile region of South Sudan, humanitarian needs have risen exponentially, with tens of thousands being displaced.
In the wake of this unprecedented crisis, Sara Beysolow Nyanti, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) – who is also the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the world’s newest nation – visited Adidyang, an area where nearly 4,000 displaced persons are temporarily seeking refuge.
Upon landing in the state capital, Malakal, Ms. Nyanti’s first order of business was meeting authorities to ensure that a humanitarian corridor can be established enabling the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes to provide much-needed relief to the newly displaced.
“This unfolding situation requires collaborations among all stakeholders, and I urge our partners in the government to allow humanitarian workers safe passage to provide aid to those who need it the most,” she said.
Severe flooding across the state was another key issue raised by Ms. Nyanti. This impacts the support that international friends can provide to communities at large.
For Teresa Joseph, a newly displaced woman, recent conflict has another dimension—children being separated from their families.
“It has been a difficult situation for women and children. Many elderly people and young children are, as yet, unaccounted for,” she revealed.
However, speaking with DSRSG Nyanti seemed to give hope to Teresa.
“We understand that UNMISS and humanitarian partners are doing all they can to help us. We appreciate this,” she stated simply.
Humanitarian relief tops the list of immediate needs for those newly displaced, as Nyawanga Aban points out.
“We need tents to shelter from the rain,” she said. “Our children are cold and wet; we abandoned our homes with only the clothes on our back. We need support to rebuild our lives.”
Ms. Nyanti was visibly moved by such testimonies and the situation on the ground.
“I saw destitute men, women, and children. I saw destitute youth. People are looking for help and losing hope. Some of them walked for 10 days and some of them lost their children,” she revealed.
“People have been running for their lives and they are tired. There is an urgent need for peace here so that this crisis can be overcome and development can begin.”
The DSRSG’s visit to Adidiyang also shed light on a critical issue: Reduced donor funding for South Sudan.
“We are currently underfunded for South Sudan. The situation in Adidiyang is a new challenge that was not planned for. Prevailing insecurity doesn’t help humanitarians who are working 24/7 to reach the most vulnerable. Protection is a major concern,” she stated.
For their part, UNMISS peacekeepers undertook a riverine patrol to Adidiyang yesterday to assess protection needs and are continuing to monitor the security situation.
Ms. Nyanti was accompanied by humanitarian partners from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); the World Food Programme (WFP); the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO); as well as members of the diplomatic community.