The South Sudanese government and rebels signed a ceasefire in Ethiopia on Friday, agreeing to end the fighting that has plagued the young country since mid-December.
In a joint statement released over the weekend, Mercy Corps and over 50 NGOs working in South Sudan welcomed the ceasefire and called on all those involved in the conflict to protect civilians and refrain from attacks on humanitarian activities.
During the last six weeks, organizations have experienced threats, looting and robberies that greatly restricted their ability to provide lifesaving assistance. In addition, battles and attacks limited access to some of the more remote areas, where families were left with no support.
With this agreement, we and our colleagues hope there will be a quick improvement in the security conditions that help us reach more people with the food, water and supplies they desperately need.
“Unconditional access is urgently needed,” explained our South Sudan Country Director, Mathieu Rouquette. “Security constraints are preventing humanitarian workers from reaching some of the hardest hit areas and the approaching rainy season will only make it more difficult to transport supplies to those who need it most. It is critical we reach these communities now, before some locations are entirely cut-off from assistance.”