South Sudan: EU steps up efforts to prevent a humanitarian tragedy
European Commission – IP/14/427 12/04/2014
April 12, 2014(EU) — Due to the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan, the European Commission is ready to boost its live-saving assistance by €45 million to prevent an appalling tragedy in the country which is affecting the whole region.
This upcoming funding has been announced during a high-level meeting on the South Sudan humanitarian crisis organised in Washington by the European Commission, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the United States Agency for International Development.
“We are currently very close to South Sudan becoming one of the biggest protracted humanitarian crisis of our time. The international community needs to prevent this from happening at all cost. Over one million people have been displaced within and outside of the country, affecting the whole region. Over three million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and these numbers keep rising day by day without any prospects for improvement“, said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development commented: “The descent of South Sudan into violent conflict causes enormous suffering among innocent civilians. To respond to the worsening humanitarian situation and help the people of South Sudan we are determined to use all available instruments and have therefore decided to mobilise today’s additional assistance from the European Development Fund. We aim to ensure that basic services and food aid reach those South Sudanese who are internally displaced or have sought refuge in neighbouring countries“.
More and more refugees are arriving to the overcrowded sites in Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. Internally displaced persons and refugees are completely dependent on humanitarian assistance. More than half of the South Sudanese population, 7 million people, are at risk of food insecurity.
Commissioner Georgieva also renewed her appeal to all parties to allow humanitarian access to Sudanese people in need: “Humanitarian aid workers are at a great risk every day. It is critical that neutral, impartial and experienced humanitarian workers can reach vulnerable people to deliver the assistance necessary for their survival.”
The new funding brings the Commission’s relief aid in South Sudan to €95 million for this year. The funds come from the European Development Fund and is still subject to final approval by the Member States.
It will support immediate life-saving activities such as distributing essential food and non-food items, as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation. Part of the funding – €15 million – will directly address the urgent needs of South Sudanese refugees.
Humanitarian situation in South Sudan is grave ever since armed violence broke out in the capital Juba on 15 December 2013 and subsequently spread to several states in South Sudan. Over 800 000 people have been internally displaced and more than 250 000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. The dead and the wounded are estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
The main humanitarian needs are for food, clean water, healthcare, shelter, sanitation, hygiene and protection. Current humanitarian response capacity is insufficient and might decrease further since the rainy season has started earlier and makes access to many parts of the country even more difficult. The UN has declared South Sudan a “level 3” crises.
The European Commission is making €95 million available in 2014 to respond to the unfolding and intensifying humanitarian crisis in the country.
A team of humanitarian experts of the Commission is on the ground monitoring the situation, assessing needs and overseeing the use of EU funds.