The agreement was signed yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, by South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, and former Vice President Riek Machar, whose supporters have waged a five-month battle that has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians and led to gross human rights violations by both sides.Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, demanded that the parties immediately translate these commitments into action on the ground, in particular the cessation of all hostilities.He commended the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and in particular its chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, for its ongoing efforts to mediate a peaceful and sustainable end to the conflict.In total, 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country, while more than 293,000 people have become refugees in neighbouring countries since the crisis began in mid-December 2013, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today that one-third of the population of South Sudan is now experiencing emergency levels of food insecurity, and that some areas of the country to appear to be at high risk of famine in the coming months.The latest food security analysis carried out in South Sudan indicates that, as a result of conflict, displacement, destroyed markets and disrupted livelihoods, food security has deteriorated at an alarming rate since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.Populations, particularly in the three most conflict-affected states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei, need urgent humanitarian assistance to save lives and livelihoods, FAO stressed.
“It is critical that WFP has the necessary resources to come to the aid of people who are most vulnerable and have been repeatedly affected by a crisis that erupted two years ago,” said Bienvenu Djossa, WFP Country Director in the Central African Republic (CAR). According to WFP, nearly 900,000 people are still displaced or have taken refuge in neighbouring countries since the start of the conflict in 2013 and the agency and its partners aim to assist 1.2 million people in areas worst-affected by conflict and hunger. The agency urgently requires $21 million to continue providing vital assistance to families in need through to the end of the year. “More than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in a matter of days,” according to Mr. Djossa.“The situation remains tense and volatile, but WFP has been able to reach over the past week those most in need, people who have been cut off from any assistance for days, and living in difficult circumstances in over 20 displacement sites,” Mr. Djossa said.He went on to say that even before this latest escalation in violence, “about one in four people were in need of urgent food assistance, and were struggling to recover from the widespread disruption the conflict caused to their lives.”