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US pledges $133 million for displaced South Sudanese

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September 23, 2016 (JUBA) - The United States is pledging nearly $133 million in additional humanitarian assistance to South Sudan’s refugees and internally displaced people, its State Department said.

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South Sudanese refugees cook on an open fire at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in Sudan’s White Nile state on 27 January 2014 (Photo: AFP/Ashraf Shazly)

The funding was announced Thursday during a high level event on South Sudan at the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“Aid can only be effective if it reaches the people who need it most”, partly reads a statement issued by the State Department.

The US urged all parties stop attacking civilians, allow humanitarians unfettered access to those in needs throughout South Sudan, and cease violations of international humanitarian law and principles.

“No amount of humanitarian aid will end the violence or provide lasting solutions to this man-made crisis,” it said, adding, “We call on South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize the safety and security of the citizens they represent, to restore stable environments for civilians and humanitarians, and to enable people to rebuild their lives”.

Over 2.7 million people, aid agencies say, have been forced to flee their homes, either to other parts of South Sudan or to neighboring countries as refugees due to conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

At least 40% of the South Sudan populations are reportedly in need of life-saving assistance, with some people on the brink of starvation.

The new funding, the US said, will boost emergency health services, increase access to and the availability of clean water and sanitation, provide psychosocial support and other services to survivors of gender-based violence, increase access to emergency education for refugee children, and build and expand new refugee camps throughout the region.

“Our assistance will also help feed the hungry, provide nutrition supplements for children suffering from malnutrition, and reunite families separated by the fighting,” it further stressed.

The aid comes amid discussions over whether the US should cut its aid to South Sudan, a young nation trying to recover from civil war.

Last month, however, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry said US humanitarian assistance to South Sudan will not continue forever if its leaders "are not prepared to do what’s necessary for their people."

Over one million people have fled South Sudan since fighting broke out in December 2013, and more than 1.6 million people have been internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

This additional funding brings the total US humanitarian aid for the people of South Sudan to nearly $1.9 billion since the start of the conflict in December 2013.

(ST)

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