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US pledges further $300m in humanitarian aid to S. Sudan

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May 21, 2014 (KIGALI) – The United States has announced an additional nearly $300 million in humanitarian assistance for the tens of thousands of people affected by the conflict in South Sudan.

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Displaced people at the Tomping camp in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, where some 15,000 people who fled their homes are being sheltered by the United Nations (Photo: Reuters)

The funding was reportedly announced at the humanitarian pledging conference for South Sudan in Oslo, Norway where the US joined more than 40 other countries to pledge support for those displaced within the new nation and into its neighbouring states.

“We continue to stand with the people of South Sudan and are working to bring an end to the conflict that has taken a devastating toll on the country and accelerated the humanitarian crisis”, the US state department said in a statement.

“We are working with the United Nations and our partners to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of the 1.3 million people displaced by the fighting and the millions who are at risk of famine in the coming months”, it added.

Violence broke out in the South Sudan in mid-December last year killing thousands with over a million people displaced, according aid agencies operating in the country.

The United Nations has launched a massive operation to help 3.2 million people, but is reportedly $781 million short of the $1.27 billion urgently needed by mid this year.

The UN on Tuesday described the donor conference as the “last chance to prevent famine”.

With this new funding, however, the US said it was responding to immediate food needs, ramping up the distribution of food items and specialty nutrition supplements for children suffering from malnutrition.

This new assistance, it stressed, will also continue to support programs that address chronic food insecurity by providing seeds, tools and agricultural training to help South Sudanese farmers restart their livelihoods.

“To prevent the spread of disease, the new US assistance will provide safe drinking water, latrines and training on hygiene practices. It will also bolster emergency health services, provide medical and psychosocial support for survivors of gender-based violence and fund emergency education for displaced children", noted the statement.

“The funding will also support programs in neighboring countries that are witnessing an influx of refugees with construction of camps, health and nutrition programs, as well as education and reproductive health activities”, it added.

The earmarked funds reportedly brings to more than $434 million the total humanitarian assistance provided by the US government to South Sudan in the fiscal year 2014.

CEASE HOSTILITIES

Meanwhile, the US said the humanitarian assistance it was extending can only be effective if the government of South Sudan, opposition forces, and all other conflict parties stop fighting and remove obstacles to the delivery of life-saving assistance.

"It is crucial that both sides implement their May 9 agreement to end the violence and allow immediate, full and unconditional access for the United Nations and humanitarian organisations to reach those in need", further noted the statement.

(ST)

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