UNITED NATIONS — The director of U.N. humanitarian operations blamed the Sudanese government and rebels Tuesday for blocking all humanitarian aid from two southern states where over 900,000 people need help and an unknown number are surviving on roots and leaves or dying.
John Ging said a year-long effort to get access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states has failed because of a lack of "political will" by the government and the rebels who are allied with guerrilla forces that eventually came to power in South Sudan.
"The humanitarian status of these people is truly appalling," Ging told reporters after briefing the Security Council. "If we don't find a solution to this, then the inevitable consequence is more people will die, more needless humanitarian suffering will occur and more displacement into South Sudan and Ethiopia."
The fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which Ging said is intensifying, pits the Khartoum government against rebels from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, who were left on the north's side of the border in Sudan after South Sudan became independent in July 2011.
After fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile began in 2011, access to the remote region by the United Nations and international aid agencies was restricted and then banned by the Sudanese government.
A year-long effort by the U.N., Arab League and African Union to get the government and SPLM-N to agree to humanitarian access to the area failed. Ging said he urged the Security Council to move from rhetoric to action and implement a resolution it adopted in May 2012 calling for the two parties to allow humanitarian workers and aid into the two states.