Government announces €2million in funding to help communities affected by conflict in South Sudan and refugees who have fled to Ethiopia.

By Ireland - Ministry of Foreign Affairs

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 4, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Government is to provide €2 million to aid agencies responding to the deepening crisis in South Sudan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, have announced.

Widespread violence against civilians in South Sudan has forced almost two million people to flee their homes. Almost half a million of these have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, where President Michael D. Higgins, accompanied by Minister Sherlock, will visit refugee camps in Gambella today. Gambella provides shelter to many of the 180,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Ethiopia as a result of the conflict.

The funding, which will provide food, clean water, healthcare, shelter, education programmes for children and protection to vulnerable people, is being distributed as follows:

• €1 million to Médecins sans Frontières, GOAL, Plan Ireland and Concern to provide health care, clean water and sanitation and education for South Sudanee refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia.

• €1 million to Concern, Christian Aid and Trócaire for programmes in South Sudan to provide emergency nutrition, improve food security and assist people to develop livelihoods.

• This brings to over €8.5 million the funding provided by Ireland to the South Sudanese crisis in 2014.

Minister Charlie Flanagan said:

“With an estimated 3.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in South Sudan, I am gravely concerned at the impact that the violence is having on the civilian population. I am particularly alarmed by the high levels of sexual and gender based violence being perpetrated against women and girls and at the plight of refugees who have fled the country.

“Given the seriousness of the crisis and the urgent needs of innocent civilians, Ireland will provide a further €2 million to our NGO partners in South Sudan and Gambella, Ethiopia.”

Minister Sherlock, who is accompanying President Michael D. Higgins on his visit to refugee camps in Gambella today, said:

“The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia are women and children. Many are in very poor health having walked for weeks from a number of areas of South Sudan to reach shelter. This additional funding of €2million will ensure that effective aid is delivered in a concentrated manner to where it is most needed here.

This funding will assist Irish Aid's key partners in their efforts to meet the urgent needs of extremely vulnerable refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia through the provision of food, clean water, healthcare, shelter, sanitation, hygiene and protection'.