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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 24 July 2014

South Sudan: Europe increases food aid

The European Commission has just 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. This funding will contribute towards helping the 1.7 million people in need of assistance.

"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. By signing these contracts now with the WFP, our biggest partner in food aid, we will save the lives of many South Sudanese people," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.

"Despite challenges to security and access across South Sudan, WFP 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. 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,” said Ertharin Cousin, WFP Executive Director.

Almost six tons of food will be distributed as well as vouchers and/or cash to give needy people the ability to buy a variety of foods from local markets. €5 million will support logistics to transport life-saving supplies to the most vulnerable in remote parts of the country.

In addition to an increasing number of people suffering from food insecurity, over 1.5 million South Sudanese have been displaced within and outside the country, making this a regional crisis.

Humanitarian funding for the South Sudan crisis from the European Union – its Member States and the European Commission - stands at €208.5 million.1

Background

The humanitarian situation in South Sudan has been critical ever since armed violence broke out in the capital of Juba on 15 December 2013 and subsequently spread to several states in South Sudan. More than 1.1 million people have been internally displaced and over 400 000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. A cholera outbreak is spreading quickly within the country since April 2014 with over 4 600 reported cases, including 106 deaths.

The main humanitarian needs are for food, clean water, health-care, shelter, sanitation, hygiene and protection. The UN has declared South Sudan a "Level Three" crisis, the highest category for a humanitarian crisis.

The European Commission is making €83.8 million available in 2014 to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the country as well as an additional €15 million to support South Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring countries.

A team of humanitarian experts of the Commission is on the ground monitoring the situation, assessing needs and overseeing the use of EU funds.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide and the main partner of the European Commission providing food assistance around the world. Last year, WFP reached more than 80 million people in 75 countries with food assistance.

For more information

The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

Commissioner Georgieva's website:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

Contacts :

David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)

Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail

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Source: Electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS)


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