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EU responds to famine in South Sudan with €82 million in emergency aid

A child is measured in South Sudan. Famine has been declared for the first time since the country's independence in 2011
One hundred thousand people are facing starvation in parts of South Sudan while 40 per cent of the population is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. Today the European Commission announced €82 million in emergency aid to cover essential needs such as food assistance. Photo: Medair/ Diane Gorter

Today the European Commission announced an emergency aid package worth €82 million as famine is declared in South Sudan for the first time since the country gained independence in 2011.

One hundred thousand people are facing starvation in parts of the country while 40 per cent of the population (4.9 million people) is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Announcing the funding, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said, "The humanitarian tragedy in South Sudan is entirely man made. Urgent action is needed to prevent more people from dying of hunger. I have seen for myself the impact of this crisis when visiting South Sudan and neighbouring countries such as Uganda, and I'm ready to return to the region. Crucially what matters is that all parties allow humanitarian organisations to have immediate and full access to do their job and deliver aid. Ultimately it is only by laying down arms that the country can be rebuilt and that the hopes that came with independence can be fulfilled."

The new EU humanitarian aid package will be used for urgent needs in the country and help neighbouring countries cope with the massive influx of refugees. The EU provides funding for food assistance; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene interventions; education, as well as shelter and protection for vulnerable populations.

To date, the European Commission has made more than €381 million available to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in South Sudan since fighting erupted in December 2013.

Background

The EU is among the biggest donors of humanitarian aid in South Sudan. In 2016, it provided more than 40 per cent of all humanitarian financing to support life-saving programmes.

A team of the European Commission's humanitarian experts is permanently based in the country. They liaise and facilitate the work of partner organisations, coordinate response efforts with both EU and non-EU donors, and closely monitor developments as well as the efficient use of EU humanitarian funds.

Publication date
21/02/2017