Despite a new peace deal that aimed to end the 5-year civil war, fighting continues in the world’s youngest nation. Delivery of humanitarian aid is obstructed at the detriment of millions in need. Two-thirds of the population is at risk of severe food shortages. The man-made crisis has a ripple effect on the entire region where close to 2.5 million South Sudanese have taken refuge. The EU continues to support life-saving assistance in South Sudan and for refugees in neighbouring countries.
Years of conflict and economic collapse have caused displacement and immeasurable distress among the civilian population. The destruction of property and crops has ruined livelihoods and local trade. A year after pockets of famine were declared in the country, hunger and malnutrition remain at unprecedentedly high levels.
Health care and education are in tatters. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of South Sudan's counties have inadequate or no health services. In 2017, 150 disease outbreaks were detected across the country. Up to 2.4 million South Sudanese children are deprived of education, one of the highest proportion of out of school children in the world. South Sudan’s man-made crisis is characterised by serious violations and abuses against civilians, which leaves 6.4 million people in need of protection, in many instances also from widespread sexual violence.
Due to displacement and destruction of water and sanitation facilities, 5.6 million people urgently need access to safe water, especially those who fled into swampland where they are particularly vulnerable to disease outbreaks. The conflict has triggered a mass exodus to Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The number of displaced South Sudanese, both internally and across borders, has risen to over 4 million.
Since the beginning of 2017, the European Union has provided more than €317 million to help millions of South Sudanese affected by conflict: €127 million for live-saving assistance in South Sudan and €190 million for the regional refugee response.
The EU prioritises support to emergency teams with the flexibility to act quickly and respond to new crises in different parts of the country. These teams provide people with shelter, food assistance, healthcare, water and sanitation, essential household items and education. Of the 1.9 million internally displaced people, 200 000 live around UN peacekeeping bases, in so-called protection of civilian sites. The EU supports agencies for the provision of basic services, shelter and protection in these camps.
With emergency levels of malnutrition in many areas and, the prospect of 250 000 severely malnourished children in 2018, EU humanitarian funding supports nutrition centres where children and mothers receive treatment and care.
The EU greatly contributed to the humanitarian effort in 2017 which saw 1.8 million children vaccinated against measles, more than 180 000 children treated for severe acute malnutrition, and 300 000 children access education.
The EU is helping to expand food assistance and nutrition interventions in hard-to-reach areas, particularly in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Equatoria regions. EU funding has also ensured that ready-to-use therapeutic foods for the treatment of severe malnutrition are available well into 2018. Protection of children, girls and women is a priority for the EU given the extreme violence. In 2018, EU’s humanitarian partners were able to secure the release of almost 1 000 children from the ranks of armed groups.
More than 100 aid workers have been killed since the start of the civil war in 2013 and there has been an increase in the number of abductions. The EU continues to call on all parties to the conflict to grant unhindered, safe and sustained access for humanitarians to all parts of the country and to eliminate impediments to aid.
Almost 2.5 million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries. The EU helps refugees with food assistance, shelter, health and nutrition care, psycho-social assistance and education. About half of all South Sudanese refugees are below the age of 18 and many are unaccompanied. The EU funds specific protection programmes for these minors and for survivors of sexual and gender based violence.