USD 63 million to alleviate humanitarian crisis in South Sudan
OSLO, Norway, May 19, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Five million people in South Sudan are in acute need of humanitarian assistance. 'The crisis is expected to escalate significantly in the months ahead. The Norwegian Government is therefore allocating a further USD 63 million to humanitarian efforts in South Sudan. By making this substantial contribution, Norway is sending a clear signal about the gravity of the situation,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
This allocation comes in addition to the USD 17 million Norway has already provided for humanitarian efforts in South Sudan this year. Since last December, when armed conflict broke out in the country, over 1.3 million people have been forced to flee, and a great many have lost their homes and their livelihoods.
Humanitarian partners expect that the current crisis will continue to deteriorate in the months to come. The UN has now increased the funding requirement for humanitarian assistance from USD 1.3 billion to USD 1.8 billion. So far, only USD 590 million has been provided by international donors. Due to the critical and growing need for emergency relief and the protection of civilians, Norway, in cooperation with the UN, is hosting an international humanitarian pledging conference for South Sudan in Oslo on 19-20 May.
'I am deeply concerned about the large number of civilians who have been killed or attacked by the parties to the conflict. There are reports of widespread and systematic sexual violence, and there is a severe risk of hunger. Rapid action is needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. We are bringing together the most important humanitarian actors in Oslo so that we can agree on joint measures to provide better help to the millions of people affected by the conflict,' said Mr Brende.
Foreign Minister Brende stressed that a cessation of hostilities would be the most important step towards mitigating the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. This would allow people in acute need to get access to humanitarian assistance, and those who have had to flee their homes would be able to return and start to rebuild their lives.
The Norwegian contribution will be channelled through humanitarian actors on the ground in South Sudan, including UN agencies, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In addition, some of the funds will be allocated to relief efforts in South Sudan's neighbouring countries, which are receiving a large number of refugees.