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Ireland pledges €3 million to UN’s Humanitarian Fund for South Sudan

Funding, Ireland, Irish Aid, MoS Sean Sherlock, Press Releases, Africa, 2015

Ireland pledges €3 million to the UN’s Humanitarian Fund for South Sudan

Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, announced today that the Government is to contribute €3 million to provide food, medicines, education and vital supplies to thousands of families in South Sudan who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict.

Widespread violence from the civil war in South Sudan has forced almost 2 million people to flee their homes, the majority of whom have been displaced within South Sudan, while almost half a million people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries.

Announcing the funding, which is drawn from Irish Aid’s humanitarian budget, Minister Seán Sherlock said:

“More than a year after the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan, the political situation remains fragile and the humanitarian outlook is grim.

“The world’s youngest country stands on the brink of famine and the needs of refugees and host communities in the region continue to increase. Almost 6.5 million people are at risk of not being able to feed themselves and 2.5 million people are facing dire hunger right now.”

South Sudanese refugees in camps in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia provide shelter to many of the almost 200,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Ethiopia as a result of the conflict. The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia are women and children, often malnourished and in poor health.

Recalling his visit to Gambella, Minister Sherlock said:

“I saw for myself the devastating impact of the crisis in South Sudan when I accompanied President Higgins on a visit to the refugee camp in Gambella, in Ethiopia, last November.

“It is vital that we keep global attention on this severe humanitarian crisis and its impact on the region.

“Ireland is playing its part in this. We are working hard to support our UN and NGO partners working on the ground to protect vulnerable women and children, and to meet their food, nutrition and health needs.

“The funding we have announced today brings our total funding to the South Sudan crisis to €14 million since the outbreak of hostilities almost 14 months ago.”

The funding of €3 million is being provided to the United Nations Common Humanitarian Fund for South Sudan, which plays a key role in providing fast, flexible funding to a wide range of partners, including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and NGOs to continue their life-saving work.

Members of Ireland’s Rapid Response Corps are currently deployed to South Sudan, working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Juba; with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Gambella refugee camps. The Rapid Response Corps is a register of highly skilled individuals who deploy at short notice to assist in emergency relief efforts.

Ireland’s funding pledge was made at an international donor’s conference in Nairobi, which was attended by Dr. Vincent O’Neill, Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya.

ENDS
Press Office
10 February 2015

Notes to Editor

• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

• As of the end of January 2015 the number of people reported to be displaced by the crisis in South Sudan is 2 million. This comprises 1.5 million people internally displaced by the conflict, including over 802,122 children. Almost half a million (491,289) people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013. Many of the almost 200,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Ethiopia are in refugees in camps in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia.

• Ireland has been a strong and committed supporter of the UN Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) mechanism and currently funds all five existing CHFs in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic (CAR), making Ireland the fifth largest donor to the CHFs (after UK, Sweden, Norway and Australia).

• The funding announced today brings Ireland’s total funding to the South Sudan crisis, including to South Sudanese refugees in bordering countries, to €14 million since the outbreak of hostilities almost 14 months ago. This includes over €5 million disbursed to NGOs working in the country and the surrounding region, €1.25 to the World Food Programme, and €3 million to the CHF for South Sudan last year.

• Today’s high level event in Nairobi on South Sudan is co-hosted by Ambassador Mahboub M. Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary, and Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The high-level event will highlight the most urgent priorities and generate additional donor support.

• Humanitarian partners in South Sudan are seeking $1.81 billion in 2015, $600 million of which is required for live-saving assistance by the end of February 2015. A further $809 million is required this year to respond to the needs of South Sudanese refugees in the region.

• As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid airlifted 3 cargos of pre-positioned stocks and essential humanitarian supplies to South Sudan and the region since the conflict began. 128 tonnes of emergency supplies of blankets, tents, mosquito nets, soap, jerry cans and other urgent supplies, valued at just over €1 million in total, were dispatched to South Sudan and to South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda.