July 22, 2012 (JUBA) - Mobile phone giant Ericsson last week announced its response unit has entered into partnership with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide vital communication services to relief workers in South Sudan.
- Emergency humanitarian workers attend to children in Pibor, Jonglei, South Sudan, 2 February 2012 (ST)
The new deal, Ericsson said in a statement, is in response to the emergency humanitarian needs in the world’s newest nation, where thousands are currently camped after fleeing fighting in neighbouring Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
As part of this partnership, Ericsson Response, a group-wide initiative for Information Communication Technology (ICT) support in humanitarian disaster areas, will reportedly work with other Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) partners and the WFP to provide much needed communication assistance.
The combined solution will provide "free, reliable, high-speed internet connectivity that allows the humanitarian community to perform its life-saving work in remote areas more efficiently”.
Early this month, increasing humanitarian needs in the world newest nation prompted the United Nations (UN) and its partners to plan new projects and revise their funding appeal for the 54th African country.
The 2012 consolidated fund appeal for South Sudan, which was initially $763 million, now stands at $1.15 billion, with the increment taking into account the rise in the number of refugees in the country, logistical costs for aid operations, the impact of the government’s austerity measures and the deteriorating food security situation there.
The revised appeal reportedly includes 26 new projects and 59 revised ones covering the period July to December 2012.
With the revised appeal, however, UN agencies and their partners aim to reach 2.4 million food insecure people, 300,000 internally displaced people, 250,000 South Sudanese returnees, 265,000 refugees and 110,000 people affected by the conflict in Abyei.
At least 4.7 million South Sudanese or nearly half the populations are reportedly food insecure this year, according to a food security assessment conducted by WFP and UN Farming and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). Out of these, it says, one million people risk facing severe hunger.