JUBA, South Sudan, 7 September 2015 – Against an alarming background of growing humanitarian needs in South Sudan, the European Commission has announced a €5.5 million contribution to UNICEF to help support its operations in the country.
South Sudan’s 19-month-old conflict has created 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) – more than half of them children. An upsurge in the violence has forced tens of thousands more people to flee their homes, many of them seeking shelter in United Nations ‘Protection of Civilians’ (PoC) sites, while others are hiding in remote swamps and on islands where they have been denied access to food, safe water and medicines.
The EU funding will cover interventions in the areas of Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Child Protection.
The number of people estimated to be facing crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity has doubled since the start of the year to 4.6 million people – including 874,000 children under five. A quarter of a million children under five are estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
“This generous contribution from the European Commission comes at a desperate time, with more than three quarters of a million people cut off from humanitarian assistance in the areas of the country most affected by fighting,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan.
“Some four million people are unable to meet their food needs, while many of the children suffering from severe acute malnutrition can no longer be treated because fighting in the last months has closed or interrupted at least half of the nutrition services upon which their survival depends.”
The EU contribution of €5.5 million will support UNICEF in its emergency response in South Sudan, ensuring timely provision of therapeutic nutrition supplements for malnourished children, availability of water and sanitation supplies and child-friendly spaces and psycho-social support for children affected by the crisis.
“The humanitarian situation is going from bad to worse, as the conflict drags on at the expense of civilians. People are surviving thanks to a massive aid effort, which we need to keep up, now more than ever,” said Jean-Louis De Brouwer, Operations Director in the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) of the European Commission. “With this new humanitarian funding, we are giving UNICEF the means to respond to the many emergencies in South Sudan and to bring down malnutrition and disease rates among children trying to hold onto life. But humanitarian assistance won’t solve the crisis, the only way is a political solution.”
This year UNICEF and partners will treat more than 140,000 severely acute malnourished children under five years old.
600,000 people will also be provided with clean water and more than half a million children affected by the conflict will receive psychosocial support. The European Commission contribution will also enable UNICEF to improve its gender-based violence prevention and response services.
Since 1992 the European Commission has partnered with UNICEF to reach emergency-affected populations with much needed aid. This latest contribution brings to €15 million the amount which the European Commission has contributed to UNICEF in South Sudan in 2015.
“UNICEF South Sudan continues to benefit from its long and effective relationship with the European Commission and this latest contribution will go a long way to ensuring that, together in partnership, we are able to reach the most vulnerable children who are affected by this terrible crisis,” added Veitch.