South Sudan: UN Needs $1.4 Billion in Help for Refugees

18 May, 2017, 11:11 | Author: Jonathon Greene
  • As South Sudan crisis deepens, more funds needed for refugees

The agencies increased their 2017 appeal for South Sudan's refugees, saying they needed at least $1.4 billion to help alleviate "unimaginable" levels of suffering. But even that was only 14 percent funded, the agencies said in a joint statement. Aid workers often cannot reach the most vulnerable hungry people.

Uganda, meanwhile, is also seeing higher-than-expected numbers of arrivals and, at the current rate of displacement, is soon tipped to host over one million South Sudanese refugees.

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) - Humanitarian agencies said Monday that they are seeking 1.4 billion US dollars to provide life-saving aid to South Sudanese refugees in six neighboring countries until the end of 2017.

As fighting and hunger drive ever-greater numbers of desperate refugees to flee South Sudan, UNHCR and its partners are today calling on donors to step up funding to provide life-saving aid.

South Sudan has now become the world's fastest growing refugee crisis with more than 1.8 million refugees, including one million children, having sought safety in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, the news release said.

"The situation in South Sudan has never been so dire", Deepmala Mahla, the country director of the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps South Sudan, told ThinkProgress.

"Countries like Uganda have done all one could expect, but won't be able to sustain support for refugees unless the rest of the world steps up", warned Grandi.

Ethiopia is hosting the same number, while the situation in Uganda is even more dire, with almost 900,000 refugees from South Sudan in that country.

The agencies said the current rate of people fleeing South Sudan exceeds the humanitarian community's already pessimistic estimates.

Two years after its independence, South Sudan plunged into conflict in December 2013 after rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his then-vice president, Riek Machar, exploded into violence.

He urged the region to help get their leader out of exile in South Africa for the sake of peace in the youngest nation. Lingering suspicions between Machar and Kiir triggered a fresh bout of fighting in July 2016 and violence has since spread to large areas of the country.

Other anti-government groups have also emerged since the conflict erupted. A World Food Programme (WFP) official called their suffering "unimaginable". "South Sudan is one of the greatest tragedies of our time", UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told a donor conference in Geneva at which the appeal was launched on Monday (May 15). By March 2017, over 1.7 million South Sudanese refugees had fled to the six countries represented by the Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP): the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. "We urgently require additional resources to save lives and pull the country back from the brink".

"These are families like yours and mine, our brothers and sisters, and the world must help them now - not later", he said. Since it was made, the situation in South Sudan has continued to deteriorate.

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