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Red Cross seeks more funding to aid South Sudan

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NAIROBI – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Friday appealed to donors for an additional 55 million dollars to provide humanitarian aid to South Sudanese.

The ICRC said that it wanted to boost relief efforts to the world’s youngest nation to maintain a suitably robust response and bring aid to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the conflict.

Mr Eric Marclay, the ICRC’s head of operations for East Africa said almost five months of intense conflict had severely affected vast numbers of people and devastated large areas within the country.

“To respond to this dire situation and bring people the help they need, we are striving to step up our humanitarian activities,’’ Marclay said.

He said that the additional funding would enable the ICRC to provide food for 420,000 and fishing equipment, seed and tools for over 540,000 people and drinking water for 340,000 people.

“In spite of the massive aid effort already under way, the living conditions of displaced people in South Sudan remain alarming.

“Hundreds of thousands live in makeshift camps, their usual means of earning a living totally disrupted.

“Many have lost their cattle, and others are unable to resume their farming or fishing activities.

“They lack shelter and they have no reliable way of obtaining clean water, it is urgent that we take further action and ramp up our humanitarian effort,’’ Marclay said.

ICRC said that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, already dire, “is set to deteriorate further with the arrival of the rainy season.’’

“With a total budget of 127 million dollars, the ICRC’s operation in South Sudan will be the organisation’s second largest after Syria,’’ the charity said.

The political violence which triggered the crisis in December quickly turned into inter-ethnic bloodletting.

President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar signed an agreement last Friday to resolve the five-month-old crisis in South Sudan, which has claimed thousands of lives.

Since December, over 300,000 refugees have fled to Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya. (Xinhua/NAN)

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