Humanitarian Action

It’s not enough to respond to crises. We need to take action before they happen

Children sit under a mosquito net strung up between trees in the village of Aburoc, South Sudan, on May 10, 2017. Thousands of people are living in the open air here, displaced by conflict.In May 2017, waves of fighting have displaced families, predominantly from the Shilluk tribe in the Upper Nile State multiple times in the past few months. Thousands of people have arrived in the village of Aburoc, straddling a dry river-bed, where many live without shelter, gathering under trees which offer a little shade from the brutal heat, cooking on camp-fires and sleeping in the open air. Water is in short supply as the village’s six wells struggle to meet the demands of the influx of people.  A joint UNICEF- WFP Rapid Response Mission deployed to the area, bringing food supplies provided by the World Food Programme with UNICEF supplying health services, water and sanitation supplies as well as vaccination and psycho-social support. As the rainy season approaches, shelter and security are desperately needed by people here. With the threat of further fighting, if people chose to flee again, it will be across the border to neighbouring Sudan and the refugee camps that there.

An anticipatory approach can provide a faster and cheaper solution to humanitarian needs. Image: UNICEF/Phil Hatcher-Moore

Mark Lowcock
Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
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