July 24, 2014 (JUBA) – The European Commission has signed two major contracts with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) totalling €14 million to deliver vitally needed food assistance and facilitate the movement of humanitarian cargo in South Sudan.
- Kristalina Georgieva, the European commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response (Photo: Reuters)
The contribution will reportedly help approximately 1.7 million people.
“The world’s youngest country is on the brink of a famine because of fighting and a failed harvest. The numbers of people affected are frightening: almost seven million people are at risk of hunger,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response.
“By signing these contracts now with the WFP, our biggest partner in food aid, we will save the lives of many South Sudanese people,” she added.
Acknowledging challenges of insecurity and access in South Sudan, WFP’s executive director, Ertharin Cousin, said his organisation has been working alongside humanitarian partners to deliver assistance to communities confronted by alarming levels of food insecurity.
“Our efforts, including the deployment of rapid relief mobile teams into remote areas, organising barges to carry food along the Nile, as well as using airdrops, have provided vital support to more than 1.4 million people in June,” said Cousin.
“We are very grateful for this latest contribution from the European Commission’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department (ECHO), one of our strongest supporters, to help us expanding our life-saving work in the face of a hunger catastrophe,” he added.
Seven months of conflict in the world’s youngest nation has killed thousands and displaced over 1.3 million people, with other taking refuge in neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Already, humanitarian funding for the South Sudan crisis from the EU, its member states and the European Commission reportedly stands at €208.5 million.