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Brussels, 23 December 2013
"We must do everything to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in South Sudan" – Commissioner Georgieva announces €50 million for urgent humanitarian action
Announcing the availability of €50 million to respond to the unfolding and intensifying humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, made the following statement:
"South Sudan is at the brink of a humanitarian tragedy which we need to avoid at all cost. Most humanitarian workers have left the country since fighting erupted nine days ago. They were driven out by the dramatically deteriorating security situation but in their hearts, they know they are needed more than ever by hundreds of thousands of civilians in need of assistance and protection. Those who have stayed are doing so at a great risk, and I would like to pay tribute to their engagement.
We now have tens if not hundreds of thousands South Sudanese citizens who are on the run from the fighting in many parts of the country. Some have sought refuge in UN compounds and some are simply fleeing or in makeshift shelters. Others – among them many wounded – have been seeking medical help in completely overwhelmed hospitals where remaining staff is working around the clock. All of them need some kind of humanitarian assistance – otherwise their lives will be at risk. Such assistance includes access to clean water, food, medical assistance, shelter and protection.
At the same time, more than 200,000 refugees, mainly from the neighbouring regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile (Sudan), are staying in the country; women, children and men who are fully dependent on external humanitarian assistance to survive.
However, no assistance is possible without the people to do it. In the current situation, not many humanitarian workers could continue their most essential work. Those who do so face huge challenges and will not be able to continue their work for long without reinforcement.
I most urgently plea to all parties involved in the hostilities to allow humanitarian workers to do their job. This means to provide them with the necessary security. It also means to allow them to help every vulnerable person who needs help, no matter who the person is and to which group he or she belongs. Humanitarian assistance is purely needs driven and based on the principles of neutrality and impartiality."
The European Commission has humanitarian experts on the ground, liaising with partner organisations in South Sudan on the way forward. The Commission, through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, ECHO, is able to provide €50 million to respond to the emergency. This money is part of the ECHO's 2014 Humanitarian Implementation Plan for Sudan and South Sudan.