South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with South Sudan's exiled rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Monday for face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir. President Kiir and Machar are expected to discuss and reevaluate progress and challenges facing the revitalized peace deal they signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia to end more than five years of conflict. (Xinhua Denis Elamu)
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) shakes hands with South Sudan's exiled rebel leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. Riek Machar arrived in Juba on Monday for face-to-face talks with President Salva Kiir. President Kiir and Machar are expected to discuss and reevaluate progress and challenges facing the revitalized peace deal they signed in September 2018 in Ethiopia to end more than five years of conflict. (Xinhua Denis Elamu)

A global charity on Friday called on South Sudan to protect its people, preserve peace and provide humanitarian access to areas gripped by food insecurity caused by extreme weather amid plans to form a new government.

The Norwegian Refugee Council also warned that the invasion of desert locusts to the Eastern Equatoria region this week could prove catastrophic for its already fragile food security situation and could increase vulnerable people’s dependence on humanitarian aid.

Alexander Davey, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in South Sudan, said the formation of the new government presents an opportunity to start working towards a path to peace and reconciliation that has remained elusive until now.

“The focus of attention will logically shift towards the central government in Juba, but government representatives must no longer neglect the serious protection and humanitarian needs of their people,” said Davey in a statement issued in Juba.

The statement comes as plans get underway for the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan on Saturday.

The charity said mass displacement and localized conflict should also be major concerns to the new transitional government.

It said the South Sudanese population is desperate for its leaders to put their power struggles aside and develop a new vision for the country after more than six years of war.

An estimated 7.5 million people will need humanitarian assistance according to OCHA’s Humanitarian Needs Overview for 2020.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, some 5.5 million people were acutely food insecure in January.

“The locust invasion is extremely worrying for South Sudan as the food security outlook is already bleak after floods last year, which affected nearly one million people,” Davey said.

According to OCHA, some 1.67 million people were displaced in South Sudan.

“Just last month, clashes between armed groups resulted in the displacement of more than 19,000 civilians, and over 8,000 of these sought refuge in Ethiopia,” said the charity. Enditem

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