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Agencies warn of lack of South Sudan funding

19 June 2015


Displaced: people wade through mud-filled paths between makeshift tents in the UN base at Malakal, Upper Nile State, a fortnight ago 

Displaced: people wade through mud-filled paths between makeshift tents in the UN base at Malakal, Upper Nile State, a fortnight ago 

A LARGE shortfall in funding is hampering the humanitarian response in South Sudan, a coalition of agencies said in a statement on Tuesday.

As donors prepared to meet in Geneva to pledge contributions, agencies warned that, by the end of July, 40 per cent of the country's population - 4.6 million - would be "severely food insecure". Only a third of the $1.63 billion needed to respond to the humanitarian crisis had been funded, they said.

The World Food Programme announced last Friday that it would have to cut food rations for half a million refugees in two Kenyan camps, owing to a shortage of funds. On the same day, UNICEF warned that funds for lifesaving services were available only until the end of the month; the funding received covers only 16 per cent of the $117 million required.

On Tuesday, it was announced that more than $275 million had been pledged in Geneva. The UK was second only to the United States in contribution, donating $61 million.

"The pledges show that the world has not forgotten the people of South Sudan," the commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management at the European Commission, Christos Stylianides, said. The commission pledged $55 million. "This is a man-made crisis which cannot be solved by humanitarian aid alone. A political solution is urgently needed," Mr Stylianides said.

The statement from the charities on Tuesday condemns "the appalling increase in violence in Unity and Upper Nile States" ( News, 22 May). It goes on: "Even those who manage to escape are being driven deeper into the bush, or are hiding in swamps and islands, further cut off from aid."

In addition to the withdrawal of aid agencies from Unity State, UN human-rights monitors have been denied access to various sites by members of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, as they sought to verify reports of killings, rapes, and the burning of towns and villages.

This month, the government of South Sudan decided to expel the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer. He has warned that, in half of the country, one in three children are acutely malnourished, and 250,000 children face starvation.

"The continuation of hostilities . . . is tantamount to the abdication by the South Sudanese leaders of their most fundamental responsibility to their own people," the African Union's Peace and Security Council said on Tuesday.

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