South Sudan: United Nations humanitarian fund gives US$20 million to address urgent refugee needs

27 July 2012, New York: The United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, announced today that she has allocated more than US$20 million to help alleviate the suffering of the recent wave of Sudanese refugees fleeing into South Sudan from the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

“Nearly 170,000 people have fled conflict and hunger, and many more are on their way to South Sudan,” said Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos. “But, once they get to South Sudan, tens of thousands of refugees are struggling for survival. People are dying of preventable diseases due to dangerous and overcrowded conditions. We need the international community to work together so that we can respond effectively to the crisis.”

The dire situation for refugees has further deteriorated over the past month as scarce resources have been stretched and humanitarian organizations have struggled to cover a rapidly growing population, which is still expected to increase. Money from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will support priority life-saving projects to help an estimated 65,000 people, including 13,000 children under the age of five. The cost of humanitarian operations in South Sudan is particularly high, due to the almost total reliance on imported goods and services, as well as poor road and river transport networks.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), responsible for the coordination of aid for refugees in South Sudan, will receive more than $10 million to ensure that all refugees have better access to clean water and adequate sanitation, shelter, and health care services. All new arrivals will receive a kit, including bedding, kitchen sets and personal hygiene items for women and girls. The World Food Programme (WFP) will receive $4.4 million from the Fund to provide emergency food, while IOM will receive $2 million to provide clean water, sanitation and transport.

More than 60 per cent of new arrivals to Upper Nile State and almost three-quarters of new arrivals in Unity State are younger than 18. To meet the specific health, nutrition and protection needs of refugee children, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will receive $3.3 million. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) will use $227,927 to help scale up and extend access to vital maternal and reproductive health services.

CERF was created by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to help people affected by sudden-onset disasters and neglected emergencies. CERF is funded by voluntary contributions from Member States, NGOs, local governments, the private sector and individual donors.