The European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič Commissioner Lenarčič, who is currently in South Sudan, has today announced new funding of €43.5 million in humanitarian aid in the country.
The funds will be used, among others, to help those most in need, including with protection and food assistance, as well as those affected by man-made and natural disasters.
“The humanitarian situation across South Sudan is extremely dire. Parts of this youngest African country are facing famine-like conditions and the country as a whole is bracing itself for the worst food crisis ever,” Lenarčič said in a statement.
“There seems to be little international interest in this acute situation in the country. Only five donors, including the European Commission, account for almost 77% of the total aid to South Sudan. This lack of interest risks turning this already disastrous situation into a forgotten crisis. A scale-up of the humanitarian response is urgently needed from all donors to ensure the adequate capacities are in place. Not getting things right now will make matters even worse next year with even more lives being lost.”
The EU funding announced today will help address acute humanitarian needs, provide humanitarian protection to communities affected by violence, and strengthen preparedness to deal with new shocks, including epidemics and natural disasters. With millions of children remaining out of school in South Sudan, part of the funding will also be allocated to Education in Emergencies.
In South Sudan, there are over 8 million people whose fundamental needs are not met, including more than 7 million who are severely food insecure. Parts of the country are facing famine-like conditions. This alarming situation is mainly triggered by pervasive violence against civilians in large parts of the country also affecting the security and work of humanitarian aid workers.
Since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has also mobilised a wide range of tools and instruments in direct response to the broader humanitarian and development challenges in South Sudan, ranging from emergency health assistance to supplying protective equipment to frontline health workers, to strengthening lab capacity and supporting peace in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
Overall, in 2020, the European Commission allocated over €21 million to the pandemic response in the country, including by financing two Humanitarian Air Bridge flights that brought 65 tons of personal protective equipment for frontline workers in July 2020. This year, the EU is supporting the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to South Sudan through the COVAX facility, which delivered its initial shipment at the end of March. Additionally, the Commission just launched a €100 million EU humanitarian initiative to support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Africa.