Ministers Flanagan & Sherlock announce €2m humanitarian funding for South Sudan and the region12 April 2016
- Civil War has now displaced one in every five South Sudanese people
- Minister Flanagan calls on the country’s leadership to advance a peaceful resolution after 2 years of violent conflict
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and the Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation Seán Sherlock, T.D., today (Tuesday) announced €2 million in Irish Aid funding in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, having become independent in 2011. However, a bitter civil war erupted in 2013, and in 2015 it was ranked the world’s most fragile State. A peace agreement was signed in August 2015, but the ceasefire is not holding and violence and human rights violations continue.
Announcing the additional funding, Minister Flanagan said:
“Since 2013, the widespread violence from a bitter civil war has forced more than 2.3 million people to flee their homes, leaving one in every five South Sudanese people displaced, either internally or in the neighbouring countries. Over half of those displaced are children, and malnutrition rates among them are a cause of grave concern.
“It is profoundly depressing that after more than two years of conflict in South Sudan, we seem no closer to a resolution. The international community has endeavoured to support the fragile new state of South Sudan. With over 6 million people now in humanitarian need, the country’s leadership has a solemn responsibility to bring about peace, to end the appalling attacks on civilians, to address the alarmingly high rates of hunger and malnutrition, and to allow people to rebuild their lives. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable in this conflict. Sadly, a generation is at risk of being lost to the bitter war, and this is unacceptable.
Minister of State Sherlock added:
“Considering the extensive needs both inside South Sudan and in the neighbouring countries, I am glad that Irish Aid is able to contribute €2 million to UNHCR and ICRC’s work, both inside South Sudan and in neighbouring countries. ICRC plans to provide food to almost half a million people in hard-to-reach areas this year. When I visited Ethiopia in 2014, I experienced the tireless work which UNHCR is doing to address the needs of South Sudanese refugees, most of whom are destitute and exhausted after making a journey on foot to flee the conflict.”
Minster Sherlock added:
“We are allocating this funding now, to ensure that our partners can pre-position supplies before the rains begin next month, making unpaved roads in South Sudan impassable. This will allow ICRC and UNHCR to reach more people with life-saving assistance, and to do so in a more cost-effective manner.”
Funding of €1 million will be provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC) for its humanitarian operations in South Sudan and a further €1 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), to support its work with South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda and Sudan.
12 April 2016
Notes to the editor:
• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie
• The 2016 UN Humanitarian Needs Overview for South Sudan estimates that 6.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, reporting of widespread hunger and malnutrition, loss of thousands of lives, pervasive sexual and gender-based violence, extensive economic decline, loss of livelihoods, and huge infrastructural damage.
• 1.69 million people have been displaced internally, including over 907,000 children under 18 years. Over 800,000 South Sudanese people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, including more than 500,000 children who are living as refugees in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.
• The conflict and recurrent natural disasters are also taking a toll on the already weak economy of South Sudan. Alarming levels of hunger are being intensified by conflict, flooding, droughts and displacement. Harvests have been disrupted and food production has been severely reduced. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis released in February 2016 reported that 2.8 million people, nearly 25% of the country’s population, is in urgent need of food assistance. Of these, 2.3 million are at crisis or emergency state of food security, and a further 4.1 million are reported to be stressed level of food insecurity. At least 40,000 people are on the brink of catastrophe.
• One in five children under five is acutely malnourished, including more than 230,000 severely malnourished children. The Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) levels are above the emergency threshold of 15% in over half the country.
• In 2016, the UN’s South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan requires US$1.3 billion to meet the humanitarian needs South Sudanese people. It is currently only 10% funded. The ICRC 2016 Emergency Appeal for South Sudan is seeking €118 million.
• The UN’s South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan (for refugees in neighbouring countries) seeks US$630 million, of which UNHCR requires US$292 million to provide shelter, protection, water and sanitation, education and health and nutrition support.
• Since 2012, Ireland has provided over €35 million in humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, to support UN agencies and NGOs in their humanitarian response operations focused on preventing famine, providing vital nutrition supplies, and water and child protection services. In 2015, €8.123 million was contributed, including €1 million to UNHCR’s South Sudan Regional Response and €1 million to ICRC’s response in South Sudan. So far in 2016, Ireland has contributed €3 million to the UN Country-Based Pooled Fund for the South Sudan.