Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos Statement to the Press Security Council Briefing on Sudan/South Sudan

New York, 16 July 2014 – I have just briefed the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Sudan and South Sudan, which continues to deteriorate for hundreds of thousands of people in both countries.

It is more than two years since the Council adopted resolution 2046 in May 2012, expressing deep concern at the humanitarian impact of fighting between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile continue to be affected by war, and no progress has been made in ensuring that they have access to even the most basic humanitarian assistance.

I told Council members that this suffering is taking place in an increasingly complex environment.

Reputable sources cite estimates of some 170,000 people displaced within SPLM-North areas in the first half of this year.

Humanitarian premises, including hospitals, have been bombed. Attacks on medical facilities, whether deliberate or indiscriminate, are clearly unacceptable and in direct contravention of resolution 2046 and international humanitarian law.

I noted my deep concern that intensified bombing and fighting during the planting season – May, June and July – is likely to have an impact on the harvest and families’ ability to feed themselves.

The consequences of this conflict include failure to vaccinate children against polio in SPLM-North controlled areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator, humanitarian workers in Sudan have continued to appeal to the parties to allow basic assistance to be provided to people who most need it.

We are seeing significant inter-connections between the humanitarian situations between the two countries.

Deepening conflict in Darfur. Continuing deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. Refugee outflows; and worrying food insecurity across the region.

We have already heard that the Famine Early Warning Systems Network has forecast that emergency levels of food insecurity are likely to persist among the internally displaced and host communities in SPLM-N controlled areas of South Kordofan between now and September.

I warned the Council that if aerial bombardment continues to disrupt agricultural activities, we can expect the impact to extend well beyond the harvest in September.

Food security assessments in May and June this year indicate acute food and livelihoods crisis or an emergency situation in ten counties in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States. A warning of possible famine over the months of July and August was also given.

The conflict in South Sudan has effectively blocked off traditional areas of refuge across the border.

It has also disrupted the cross-border movement of goods and services coming into South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

And it has compounded the suffering of more than 200,000 Sudanese refugees in Upper Nile and Unity States.

There are also currently close to 83,000 refugees from South Sudan in Sudan as a result of the ongoing fighting.

Given the dire situation in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur and the unfolding humanitarian disaster in South Sudan, it is clear that urgent action is needed now.

I appealed to the Council to take action to ensure immediate and unhindered access for the United Nations and our humanitarian partners, as called for under Resolution 2046.

I also asked the Council to call on the parties to unequivocally welcome the renewed vaccination proposal and ensure a conducive environment – including issuance of the necessary permits and security guarantees – for the safe and efficient implementation of this critical humanitarian operation.

I also warned the Council that, if we don’t take action now, we will see a major humanitarian crisis unfolding in South Sudan with respect to food security and the possibility of famine.

Thank you very much.

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