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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 26 July 2012

EU boosts humanitarian aid for needs in Sudan and South Sudan by €40 million

The European Commission is increasing its support for the victims of the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sudan and South Sudan. The Commission aims to help hundreds of thousands of refugees in South Sudan who have fled the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, and the 37,000 refugees, mainly from Blue Nile, in Ethiopia.

To meet their growing needs, the Commission is boosting by € 40 million its humanitarian aid for Sudan and South Sudan. This brings to € 127 million the Commission's relief aid in the two countries for this year.

"Our humanitarian experts in the crisis areas have alerted me that the situation is deteriorating fast and the needs are growing. It is vital to scale up our immediate response in the border areas" said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

In South Sudan, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated drastically in 2012. The influx of refugees into already full camps has boosted food insecurity and the risks of cholera, malaria and other diseases. Poor harvests have exacerbated food shortages – the World Food Programme now estimates that this year half of the population of South Sudan – 4.7 million people – is food insecure, up from 3.8 million last year. This situation is likely to worsen due to the government's decision to shut down oil production and therefore 98% of its revenues.

The vicious circle of disease and malnutrition pushes up mortality rates, particularly among children. Access to people in need is restricted by insecurity and the rain season, which has made many roads impassable and the delivery of essential aid impossible.

Sudanese refugees from Blue Nile state keep flowing into Ethiopia and humanitarian organisations are increasingly concerned about the health and nutritional situation in refugee camps and transit centres. Extremely alarming malnutrition rates are being reported among refugees, particularly in the Bambasi camp.

In Sudan, the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is on-going. Neutral humanitarian organisations are denied access and therefore struggle to deliver assistance to people in need. The Commission remains engaged and ready to intervene as soon as access conditions are in place. In Darfur, in spite of access constraints, humanitarian assistance is being provided to victims of conflict, as new displacements continue to occur.

Commissioner Georgieva reiterated her appeal to the Government of Sudan to allow assistance to reach all Sudanese people in need, wherever they are.


The European Commission has been supporting life-saving activities in Sudan and South Sudan since the mid-1990s. Funding for 2011 totalled €140 million. The aid includes assistance for internally displaced people, returnees and refugees, providing basic healthcare, clean water, sanitation, food assistance and protection.

A team of humanitarian experts of the Commission, based on the spot, is monitoring the situation, needs and use of EU funds. The European Commission is working with humanitarian organisations that are best-placed to deliver assistance in the countries concerned (The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross, NGOs). The Commission funds work on the greatest priorities, including protection, water and sanitation and nutrition.

The EU is also providing Sudan and South Sudan with substantial development assistance that targets the basic needs of the most vulnerable people in conflict-affected areas.

Since 2010, the EU has allocated €285 million in development funds to South Sudan until 2013. This aid will target the agriculture sector through construction of so-called feeder roads that link farms to larger roads and to markets, and will help small scale farmers in making a living. Additional support is also given to the education sector by training teachers, providing text material and constructing schools. The EU aid also funds the construction of health facilities and training of health specialists. Finally, support for governance is given by strengthening, for example, the judiciary and parliament.

In Sudan, the EU is providing nearly €60 million in development aid until 2013. However, this development package only supports the population and not public institutions (since the government of Sudan has not ratified the revised version of the Cotonou Agreement, which is the underlying basis of EU cooperation with the country.) EU aid targets the agriculture sector (through provision of technical assistance to help small scale farmers to make a living), the education sector (by training teachers and providing text material to reduce drop-out rates in primary schools) and the health sector (through training of nurses and midwives, the construction of health facilities, and introduction of basic health packages).

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

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