UN says shortage of funds to affect aid operation in South Sudan

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NAIROBI – The UN humanitarian agency has warned that shortfall in funding is likely to endanger aid operations to help 3.2 million people in South Sudan.

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The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) of the South Sudan crisis response plan, which covers January to June, is only 30 per cent funded.

“Of the 887 million U.S. dollars shortfall in funding, 232 million dollars is the bare minimum required for the next three months to avoid the humanitarian situation deteriorating sharply,’’ the OCHA said in a statement.

Fighting in the past three months displaced one million people with over 803,000 people being displaced within South Sudan and another quarter of a million people have fled to neighbouring countries.

More than 90 per cent of those displaced in the country are in open or rural settings, often seeking refuge in hard-to-access locations without food, clean water or shelter.

Without enough food to eat, malnutrition is on the rise.

Aid agencies in South Sudan have warned of even more dire humanitarian consequences if urgently needed funds are not raised in the coming weeks.

Humanitarian coordinator for South Sudan, Toby Lanzer said the funding needed would enable rapid response teams to provide lifesaving aid.

The aid includes food, health, nutrition, water and sanitation, to communities in hard-to-reach areas affected by the conflict.

“If donor funding is not made available now, we will be unable to meet the most basic needs to keep people alive or prevent a catastrophic decline in food security for millions of people at risk later in the year,’’ Lanzer.

He said the fund will also enable agencies to preposition relief materials in these areas ahead of the imminent rainy season.

He said with these, lifesaving aid continues to be available to people during the second half of this year, when two thirds of the country becomes inaccessible by road. (Xinhua/NAN)

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