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19 August 2014 - Three months on from the Oslo Humanitarian Pledging Conference for South Sudan, aid agency CARE International is deeply concerned that aid funding remains alarmingly low for South Sudan, now the setting for one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises.
Since the conflict erupted in December 2013, 1.5 million people have been displaced, with 400,000 having fled to neighbouring countries. Around 3.5 million people are now facing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity across South Sudan, including approximately 235,000 children that will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. According to the UN, an estimated 50,000 severely malnourished children under five may die if treatment services are not significantly scaled-up now.
CARE International’s Regional Emergency Coordinator for East and Central Africa, Caroline Saint-Mleux said three months ago the world took an important step in coming together to pledge humanitarian funding for South Sudan, yet funding continues to fall well short of what is needed to tackle the humanitarian challenges being faced on the ground.
“The situation in South Sudan is now one of the world’s most desperate humanitarian crises,” said Ms Saint-Mleux. “Yet the UN’s $1.8 billion appeal that was pledged in May to support the relief effort is less than 50 per cent funded. This desperately needs to change.”
According to figures from the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service, a number of donors, including the US, UK, Norway and the European Commission, pledged strong support for the crisis in South Sudan at the Oslo Conference, yet these commitments have not yet been completely fulfilled.
Notably, with the expense and difficulty of reaching large parts of the population in South Sudan, a significant portion of the funding that is available has been directed towards UN Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites, which host only 10 per cent of those displaced across South Sudan. To ensure aid reaches the majority of displaced South Sudanese, CARE is urging stronger support to humanitarian organizations that are also working outside the Protection of Civilian sites.
Furthermore, UN figures suggest that funding for responding to and preventing sexual and gender-based violence – the issue highlighted in the recent CARE report, The Girl Has No Rights: Gender-based violence in South Sudan – has only received 55 per cent of the funding required to meet demand.
“Alongside other humanitarian agencies, CARE’s teams are doing what they can to get life-saving aid as quickly as possible to the people who need it most. Yet they are doing so against enormous adversity, and can only stretch themselves so far,” said Ms Saint-Mleux.
“With a potential famine on the horizon and conditions continuing to deteriorate rapidly, the international community must act now to address the massive shortfall in funding for the South Sudan relief effort. Failure to fully commit to addressing the crisis in South Sudan will put many thousands of lives at greater risk.”
CARE has been delivering much-needed aid to over 190,000 people across South Sudan’s three hardest-hit states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile since the outbreak of conflict in December last year. CARE is providing emergency water, sanitation, hygiene services and education, in addition to nutrition, livelihood assistance and support to over 40 health facilities.
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org.
CARE has been operating in Southern Sudan since 1993, initially providing humanitarian relief to internally displaced people in Western Equatoria. The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 allowed CARE to expand into Jonglei and Upper Nile States to support returnees from the refugee camps, and the organization has since broadened its operations to include development programs.