DESPERATION

The East African - - OUTLOOK -

Around 7.5 mil­lion peo­ple, or 60 per cent of South Su­danese are in ur­gent need of aid – 1.4 mil­lion more than a year ago. The number of peo­ple dis­placed by con­flict has sur­passed four mil­lion, in­clud­ing two mil­lion who have fled the coun­try. And then there is a cholera out­break – South Sudan’s worst ever.

op­er­a­tion into south­ern Sudan run through Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda in the 1990s, as a po­ten­tial al­ter­na­tive model of aid de­liv­ery. A sim­i­lar ap­proach now would mean by­pass­ing Juba in the flow of aid and money to the needy.

But OLS had a lo­gis­ti­cal im­per­a­tive and was founded on a ne­go­ti­ated agree­ment be­tween Khar­toum, the then-rebel SPLA, and the aid com­mu­nity. Cir­cum­stances are dif­fer­ent now.

The gov­ern­ment in South Sudan jeal­ously guards its sovereignty, and al­ready ac­cuses the UN sys­tem of sid­ing with the rebels.

“I don’t see any real ap­petite for cut­ting or shift­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid,” said a re­gional an­a­lyst who asked not to be named due to their work with a Western donor.

The fear is that there could be re­tal­i­a­tion by the gov­ern­ment if con­di­tion­al­i­ties over ac­cess were in­tro­duced.

“The dif­fi­culty with con­di­tion­al­ity is that it’s got to work on the ba­sis that the peo­ple on the other side of the ta­ble care,” said the Western diplo­mat.

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