Oxfam reaction to start of talks between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar
As talks are underway between South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in Addis Ababa today, Oxfam's Head of Liaison Office with the African Union, Desire Assogbavi said:
"Millions of South Sudanese in urgent need of aid cannot afford to wait any longer for an end to this conflict. This face to face meeting has to inject urgency into what has been months of protracted and inconclusive political talks. Failure to move forward on a ceasefire and political transition will only further escalate what is already a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions.
"At the very least there must be a cast iron commitment to cease hostilities to allow people to get back to their fields to plant and harvest the coming crops. Failure to plant now will mean widespread and catastrophic hunger in the coming months."
Notes to editor
In South Sudan Oxfam has so far helped over 150,000 affected by the current humanitarian crisis. The agency is helping by providing clean water, safe sanitation, public hygiene promotion, food, cash and essentials such as soap and other items. It is working in seven conflict affected areas; Juba, Bor, Malakal, Melut, Mingkaman, Waat and Lankien. Oxfam is also working with partners in Uganda to help 36,000 South Sudanese refugees and host community members with water, sanitation and livelihoods needs.