OSLO, Norway, June 17, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 'The humanitarian needs in South Sudan are massive, and they are increasing. Nearly eight million people are experiencing a critical food shortage, out of a population of just over 11 million. Norway is now increasing its support for humanitarian assistance in the country by NOK 30 million,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) jointly hosted a High Level Event on the Humanitarian Crisis in South Sudan and its Impact in the Region in Geneva on 16 June. State Secretary Morten Høglund participated at the event. The needs of the population in South Sudan are acute – for food, water, shelter, and schooling for the children who are affected by the 18-month-long conflict. It is also important to help the 565 000 refugees from South Sudan who have fled to neighbouring countries.
'According to the UN, 4.6 million people will be on the verge of life-threatening hunger by early July if they are not given food and emergency relief. Most of these people are in extremely inaccessible areas that few humanitarian actors have managed to reach. This makes it very difficult for civilians to gain access to help,' said Mr Brende.
The additional funds from Norway will be channelled through humanitarian organisations that have demonstrated the ability to reach those in need, and will be used in part to improve food security and provide schooling. Altogether, Norway has provided NOK 180 million in humanitarian assistance to alleviate the crisis in South Sudan this year. Norway is also providing support for humanitarian efforts through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
'As the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan draws out, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the attention of the international community focused on the situation in the country. Norway is working actively to achieve progress in the peace talks, but the parties to the conflict are not showing any willingness to improve the situation for their own people. In any case, it is vital for the civilian population, who have already suffered too much, that the humanitarian assistance is continued,' said Mr Brende.
The UN has only received 41 % of the USD 1.6 billion it needs for humanitarian efforts in South Sudan this year, and only 13 % of the USD 658 million it needs to respond to the refugee crisis.