The European Commission will provide €78 million in emergency aid to help those affected by the South Sudan crisis both within the country and in the region. Over 1 million refugees from South Sudan have fled to neighbouring countries, with the number expected to grow. There are currently 2 million displaced people within the country. The funding was announced today by Commissioner Christos Stylianides who is currently in Uganda, one of the largest refugee and asylum-seekers hosting country in the world. He is visiting the Bidibidi refugee settlements built recently to host the rapidly increasing numbers of refugees from neighbouring South Sudan.
"The EU stands by the people of South Sudan who had to escape conflict and violence. I would like to pay tribute to Uganda for its hospitality in welcoming refugees and offering them an opportunity to rebuild their lives in dignity, which is an example for the region and beyond. Our new funding will help our humanitarian partner organisations get lifesaving aid to those who need it most. Sadly, attacks on relief organisations are a regular occurrence in South Sudan. What's crucial therefore is that humanitarian organisations have unhindered and safe access to do their lifesaving job," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
Humanitarian organisations in South Sudan will receive €40 million, with €30 million to help displaced South Sudanese in Uganda. The remaining €8 million will be allocated to neighbouring Sudan which hosts more than 250 000 South Sudanese refugees.
The funding will contribute to life-saving activities in South Sudan, and to meet urgent needs of the displaced population in the neighbouring countries in terms of shelter, nutrition, healthcare, sanitation and protection, especially of children.
The EU is among the biggest donors for the South Sudanese crisis and has provided close to half a billion euros since fighting erupted in December 2013.
A peace agreement signed in August 2015 should have put an end to a civil war which erupted in 2012; however, fighting has spread around the country and intensified in 2016, especially since July. The situation in South Sudan has reached catastrophic levels. The country is facing the worst food security crisis since it gained independence in 2011 and there are virtually no health services but for those provided by humanitarian organisations. There are alarming reports of ethnically motivated killings, wide spread gender-based violence and hate speech.
The conflict has severe implications for the region, especially for neighbouring countries. Overall, nearly 3 million people have fled violence and have been displaced inside and outside the country. Uganda, now hosts nearly 800 000 refugees, of which more than 500 000 are from South Sudan. Other refugees in Uganda are mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi.