JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, 23 July 2020: – Within the context of the locust infestation affecting South Sudan, the EU allocated an additional €4.5 million in humanitarian funding to UNICEF to help in addressing humanitarian needs in the country that are aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Out of this funding, over €2 million will be dedicated to scaling up the screening and treatment of severe acute malnutrition among children under the age of five. UNICEF estimates that close to 300,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2020. The situation is made worse by a deteriorating food security situation due to loss of crops and harvests, and the loss of livelihoods caused by desert locusts. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates this severe situation.
“Addressing children’s needs in humanitarian crises remains paramount,” said Heather Blackwell, Head of the EU’s Humanitarian Aid Office in South Sudan. “The EU has stepped up its support, aware that these new challenges will bring additional burdens for vulnerable communities.”
“As UNICEF, we need to think of two things at once; responding to the consequences of the locust infestation and ensuring that children‘s needs are not neglected and remain high on the agenda,” said Dr Mohamed Ag Ayoya, the UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “The humanitarian funding from the EU is timely, as we need more resources to keep the life-saving programmes going in this new COVID-19 pandemic context. The EU, through its humanitarian aid, has yet again proven to stand with children during difficult times.”
EU humanitarian funding will help UNICEF equip an increased number of health facilities where child nutrition programmes are implemented. In addition, additional nutrition supplies will be procured and stocked up ahead of the rainy season, allowing additional flexibility to respond to emergency nutrition needs. UNICEF is also putting in place measures to mitigate and respond to the invasion of locusts.
The funding will also help the continued delivery of services addressing serious children’s rights violations, such as the use of children by armed forces and armed groups. Such services include essential mental health and psychosocial support for over 45,000 children and identified caregivers, unaccompanied and separated children and children at risk or survivors of gender-based violence.
In the context of COVID-19, UNICEF and partners are doing their utmost to ensure the continuation of critical services. Physical distancing and improved hygiene protocols are implemented on nutrition sites across the country to allow service delivery, while adhering to the country’s COVID-19 rules. Furthermore, staff working in nutrition centres are trained on how to perform their duties in a safe way.
About EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid:
The European Union and its Member States are the world’s leading donor of humanitarian aid. Relief assistance is an expression of European solidarity with people in need all around the world. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises.
Through its Civil Protection and Humanitarian aid Operations department, the European Union helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, the EU provides assistance to the most vulnerable people on the basis of humanitarian needs.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information on UNICEF’s work and programmes in South Sudan, visit www.unicef.org/southsudan. Follow us on Facebook Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.