February 16, 2012 (JUBA) – More than 4.5 million people in South Sudan are in desperate need of assistance, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country, Toby Lanzer, said on Friday.
- Toby Lanzer (UN)
He said $56.5 million had been earmarked for the provision of immediate food, health, education, water and other forms of assistance for up to 1.5 million people, as well as the replenishment of emergency stocks before the start of the rainy season.
“South Sudan still faces enormous challenges, but humanitarian efforts are on course to help the population in urgent need for assistance,” said Lanzer in the capital, Juba.
Aid organisations, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator, were not able to reach all of those in need during last year’s rains, which made much of the country inaccessible.
The funding boost was allocated by the South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund. Established in 2012 to support timely allocation and disbursement of donor funding, the financing tool helps channels funding towards the most urgent priorities and ensures that funds are available for rapid response to critical humanitarian emergencies.
Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said cases of the deadly Hepatitis E were on the rise within refugee camps located at South Sudan’s border with its northern neighbour.
According to figures compiled by the UNHCR, the South Sudanese government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the disease has led to more than 100 deaths since last July.
The UNHCR reported that the largest number of cases and suspected cases were at Yusuf Batil camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, which accounted for 3,937 cases, or almost 70 percent of the total, and 77 deaths. The camp reportedly holds 37,229 refugees.
Other cases, UNHCR noted, were in Upper Nile’s Jamam camp, which recorded 1,320 cases and 25 deaths, followed by the Gendrassa camp with 577 cases and three deaths.
The situation in Unity state, the agency said, was not as severe as in Upper Nile, with just 125 cases or suspected cases and four deaths recorded at Yida camp, home to an estimated 65,000, it has the largest concentration of refugees in South Sudan.
The agency says a series of emergency measures are being taken to address the worsening situation. These it adds, include the construction of latrines and the distribution of soap to camp populations.