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UK urged to rethink aid cuts amid looming famine in S. Sudan

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March 14, 2021 (JUBA) – 85 international and non-governmental organisations in South Sudan have urged Britain to reconsider urgently the reported 59% budget cuts to vital international aid.

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A woman carries water through a UN camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state (Photo: IOM)

South Sudan, according to the recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, is likely to face "catastrophic" food insecurity at a number of locations across the country, with over 60% of the population projected to face a crisis or worse levels of food insecurity.

“Humanitarian assistance is one of the only factors keeping thousands of people from succumbing to the worst outcomes: malnutrition and death,” aid agencies said in a statement.

It added, “Severe humanitarian needs across the country have significantly worsened due to a combination of flooding, displacement, and protracted sub-national violence”.

Sustained support of the international community is critical, they argued.

“As humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding organisations working to support the people of South Sudan coming out of a painful civil war, we call on the UK Government to ensure South Sudan remains a funding priority,” further stressed the statement.

Acknowledging the UK government’s role in bolstering South Sudan’s progress with humanitarian support, the NGOs said anticipated cuts will cost lives, and undermine significantly, long-term progress made with UK funding to date - from saving lives with access to food and safe water to reducing violence through support for locally-led peacebuilding and interventions to reduce gender-based violence.

“It is vital that the UK continues to invest in both humanitarian response and longer-term action that builds resilience and integrates disaster risk reduction in the country,” the statement noted.

South Sudan has been struggling to recover from five years of war that at least one study says killed almost 400,000 people. A coalition government formed last year between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar is implementing a peace deal behind schedule, while deadly violence continues in parts of the country.

(ST)

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