UNKEA at forefront of serving vulnerable populations in flood-prone areas

Eligible groups of women, children and the elderly queue in Riang Payam, Ulang County waiting for their cash | Photo: UNKEA

Thessherald—Universal for Knowledge & Empowerment Agency, a Juba-based national organization, spares no effort in its endeavor to improve livelihoods of vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach and flood-prone areas.

Last year, as part of its efforts to boost resilience among rural communities, UNKEA distributed hundreds of goats to vulnerable and elderly people in Ulang county, Upper Nile state – one of the states hit hard by devastating floods.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the situation in South Sudan remains extremely dire across the country with approximately 7 million or 60% of the population still struggling to find adequate food every day.

In November 2020, UNKEA provided cash transfers to eligible groups in Upper Nile State in a bid to meet their basic needs, such as access to food, healthcare and shelters.

A girl living with Achondroplasia /Dwarfism receives cash from UNKEA staff in Ulang county, Upper Nile State| Photo: UNKEA

It also provides free education to thousands of children deprived of decent education as a result of conflicts in South Sudan.

South Sudan, despite having achieved peace, continues to face numerous challenges with economic collapse being the most difficult problem affecting vulnerable populations across the country.

Aid agencies plead with UK to cancel budget cuts for South Sudan

Over 85 international and national NGOs have signed a petition calling on the UK government to reconsider its decision to cut 59% of South Sudan’s life-saving humanitarian aid.

“International and National Non-governmental Organizations working in South Sudan call on the UK Government to reconsider urgently the reported 59% budget cuts to vital international aid,” the group said in joint statement seen by Thessherald.

Noting that, “South Sudan is at a pivotal point, based on the recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification of “Famine Likely” and “Catastrophic” food insecurity at a number of locations across the country, with over 60% of the population projected to face crisis or worse levels of food insecurity.”

“Humanitarian assistance is one of the only factors keeping thousands of people from succumbing to the worst outcomes: malnutrition and death.
Severe humanitarian needs across the country have significantly worsened due to a combination of flooding, displacement, and protracted sub-national violence.”

The sustained support of the international community is critical. As humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding organisations working to support the people of South Sudan coming out of a painful civil war, we call on the UK Government to ensure South Sudan remains a funding priority.
The UK has long played an important role in bolstering South Sudan’s progress with humanitarian support.

The aid agencies warned that the projected budget cuts for South Sudan will certainly cost lives and put millions on the brink of starvation.

“There is no doubt that the anticipated cuts will cost lives, and undermine significant, long-term progress made with UK funding to date – from saving lives with access to food and safe water, to reducing violence through support for locally-led peacebuilding, and interventions to reduce gender-based violence.”

“It is vital that the UK continues to invest in both humanitarian response and longer-term action that builds resilience and integrates Disaster Risk Reduction in the country. There needs to be continued support for conflict prevention and peacebuilding – as an end in itself but also, as UK Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs Nick Dyer has rightly pointed out, because conflict remains closely linked with food insecurity. After years of engagement and investment, for the UK to step back now would constitute a crushing blow to the people of South Sudan.”

S. Sudan: Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, UN rings alarm bells

Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, OCHA warns |Photo: © OCHA
Extreme hunger looms on the horizon, OCHA warns |Photo: © OCHA

In a new report released today, the United Nations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has predicted that more than 8.3 million people are expected to face extreme food insecurity in the next few months.

“Some 8.3 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021, including 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers. This is an increase from the 7.5 million people in need in 2020,” the UN agency said in its report seen by Thessherald.

The United Nations blames the rising level of food insecurity on the armed conflict and global climate change that continues to plunder the entire world.

“Humanitarian needs in South Sudan are mainly driven by the impacts of years of conflict and exacerbated by the impact of climate change,” the report said, adding that “Hunger is growing, with more than 7.2 million people projected to be severely food insecure during 2021, and with some communities facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.”

“COVID-19 has had a devastating and multi-faceted socioeconomic impact on people, including severe economic contractions, spikes in prices of basic commodities, loss of livelihoods particularly in urban areas, increased protection risks, and disrupted access to basic services.”

“The already serious humanitarian situation has been compounded by severe flooding, affecting approximately 1 million people each year in 2019 and 2020. The South Sudanese people also continue to be highly vulnerable to epidemic diseases, due to low immunization coverage, a weak health system and poor hygiene and sanitation. Conflict, insecurity and natural disasters have displaced nearly 4 million people since 2013.”

UNKEA distributes female goats to vulnerable elderly in Ulang County

Vulnerable elderly pose for a group picture after receiving their female-goats |© UNKEA

Dec 11, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Universal for Knowledge & Empowerment Agency, a local organization operating in South Sudan, has spared no effort in its endeavor to improve the livelihoods of rural communities in order to overcome these ongoing challenges facing them.

On Thursday, the organization announced that it had begun distributing hundreds of nanny-goats to vulnerable elderly people in in Ulang County, Upper Nile State.

“UNKEA is distributing she-goats to the identified vulnerable in Rublet Area, Ulang County,” said an UNKEA staff in a brief statement on social media.

Last month, UNKEA undertook a cash distribution initiative in flood-affected areas in an effort to meet the needs of vulnerable people, including access to food, healthcare and shelter.

South Sudan, despite having achieved peace, continues to face many challenges with economic collapse being the most difficult problem affecting vulnerable populations across the country.

UK pledges £8m to mitigate effects of famine in S. Sudan

UK Minster for Africa James Duddridge at the State House on October 23, 2020 in Juba
President Salva Kiir receives UK Minster for Africa James Duddridge at the State House on October 23, 2020|Photo: PPU

October 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–The United Kingdom has announced a pledge of £8 million as part of its commitment to build resilience and minimize the effects of famine in South Sudan.

This comes as the British diplomat, James Duddridge, visited South Sudan last week to see first-hand the civilian population severely affected by the reccuring floods in different parts of the country.

“Minister for Africa commits £8m to mitigate famine in South Sudan
James Duddridge’s visit to South Sudan shows how the UK is helping protect the vulnerable, prevent famine across Africa and act as a force for good in the world,” the British government announced.

Adding that, “The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, travelled to South Sudan this week (20 to 22 October) where he committed £8 million to help the victims of flooding, reduce extreme hunger and help mitigate the ongoing risk of famine in the country.”

According to Duddridge, thrhumanitarian assistance will go a long way towards supporting flood-hit communities and providing them with vital food and medicine.

“This support will help the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide food assistance, nutrition support, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene support.”

“This will help some of the most vulnerable in areas where nearly a million people have been affected by flooding and conflict, leaving them on the verge of humanitarian catastrophe. The announcement was made during a visit to Pibor and Bor to see first-hand how UK aid is providing vital assistance to people facing flooding, conflict and severe hunger.”

Speaking to the press after meeting the South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and other Vice Presidents, James Duddridge, UK Minister for Africa, Duddridge reaffirmed that, “the UK stands with the people of South Sudan and is helping save lives.”

“We will provide vital food and support to thousands of people on the brink of hunger, following devastating flooding and conflict.”

Duddridge underlined that restoring peace and stability is the only solution to addressing these challenges facing the country

“However, aid is not a long-term solution. The Government of South Sudan must commit more resources to ending conflict, bringing peace and stability and providing basic services including health and education to its people.”

For his part, WFP Country Director in South Sudan, Matthew Hollingworth, commended the funding committed by the UK.

“Conflict, extreme flooding and increases in violence mean South Sudan is facing humanitarian catastrophe. Millions of households are skipping meals. This new UK funding to tackle food insecurity will help alleviate some of this suffering. However, other donors must urgently step up efforts, while the Government of South Sudan must continue to ensure access to those in need.”

UN humanitarian chief calls for urgent end to violence in S. Sudan

UN Humanitarian Chief, Mark Lowcock.
UN Humanitarian Chief, Mark Lowcock | Photo: File

September 17, 2020 (Thessherald)–The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has called for an end to the ongoing cycles of violence in South Sudan.

The UN diplomat made this call during a briefing to the Security Council on the situation in South Sudan, “noting that violence, COVID-19, floods and economic downturn have exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation.”

The UN humanitarian chief reiterated the need for a political solution to end the violence in parts of South Sudan, and called for safe and unhindered access to vulnerable people, as well as additional funding to help meet rising humanitarian needs.

South Sudan currently faces many challenges since the COVID-19 outbreak, which has pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.

Earlier this year, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs confirmed that about 7. million people could face a worse humanitarian crisis and that more than 6.5 others could be severely affected at the height of the annual hunger season.

“Despite an extremely challenging environment, humanitarians assisted nearly 5.1 million people across South Sudan in 2020. Pre-positioning humanitarian supplies ahead of the rainy season and distributing double rations have been crucial in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 restrictions.”

ADA distributes food to hunger-stricken communities in Upper Nile

September 3, 2020 (Thessherald)–As hunger bites in different parts of the country, Africa Development Aid has distributed take-home food rations to hundreds of residents in Upper Nile state.

According to several sources, the food distributions began in the hardest hit areas namely: Kuetrengke, Dhuording, Mandeng, and Makak respectively.

South Sudan continues to face an acute humanitarian crisis exacerbated by years of underdevelopment, conflict, floods and now the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected service delivery across the country.

South Sudan’s government and opposition groups are under increasing pressure from the international community and the region to accomplish the remaining outstanding tasks in the implementation of the peace agreement to avert the ongoing humanitarian situation.