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Minister Sherlock announces €2million for conflict victims in South Sudan and refugees in Ethiopia

MoS Sean Sherlock, Irish Aid, Press Releases, Africa, 2014

The Government is to provide funding of €2 million to aid agencies responding to the worsening crisis in South Sudan, Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, announced today. The funding will be used to provide clean water and to tackle hunger among vulnerable communities in South Sudan and in refugee camps across the border, in Ethiopia.

Last week marked the first anniversary of the civil war in South Sudan. Widespread violence has forced almost two million people to flee their homes. Almost half a million people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries. Refugee camps in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia provide shelter to close to 200,000 South Sudanese who have fled to Ethiopia as a result of the conflict.

This additional support brings Ireland’s total funding to help those affected by the crisis in South Sudan to over €10.5 million in 2014.

Announcing the funding to aid agencies including Goal, the World Food Programme and World Vision, Minister Sherlock said:

“A year after the outbreak of civil war in South Sudan, I am convinced the world must act as its youngest country stands on the brink of famine.

“Malnutrition rates among children have more than doubled, while almost 750,000 children have been internally displaced and more than 320,000 are living as refugees.

“The country is likely to face a much more devastating food crisis unless there is peace and stability early in 2015.

“This funding with help reduce outbreaks of disease by ensuring clean water, improve food security among vulnerable communities by providing fishing kits, livestock, and food vouchers, and will support the reduction of the number of children dying from malnutrition.”

The crisis in South Sudan has led to a massive influx of refugees into neighbouring Ethiopia.

Recalling his visit to Gambella with President Michael D. Higgins in November, Minister Sherlock said:

“I saw for myself the devastating impact of the crisis in South Sudan when I accompanied President Higgins on a visit to a refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia, last month.

“The vast majority of South Sudanese refugees arriving in Ethiopia are women and children. Many are in very poor health having walked for weeks to reach shelter.

“The rates of malnutrition in these camps are alarming, so this funding will go directly to address the very urgent needs of vulnerable South Sudanese refugees.

“By working with Goal and the World Food Programme, we can provide food to women and young children as well as repair roads, bridges and storage facilities so that our aid can be delivered most effectively.”

Notes to Editor:

· Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

· As of December 8th 2014, the number of people reported to be displaced by the current crisis in South Sudan has exceeded 1.9 million, including over 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and more than 483,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. This is in addition to the pre-existing caseload of 228,000 refugees hosted in the conflict-affected areas of South Sudan.

· The funding, which will provide food, clean water, shelter and protection to vulnerable people, is being distributed as follows:

o €750,000 for World Food Programme’s operations in Gambella, Ethiopia

o €250,000 for Goal’s emergency response in Gambella, Ethiopia

o €250,000 for Goal’s WASH programme in Upper Nile State, South Sudan

o €300,000 for Oxfam’s emergency food security and livelihoods programme in Jonglei State, South Sudan

o €300,000 for World Vision for their Nutrition programme in Unity State, South Sudan

o €150,000 for Tearfund’s food security programme in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, South Sudan

· As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid airlifted 3 cargos of pre-positioned stocks and essential humanitarian supplies to South Sudan and the region in 2014. 128 tonnes of emergency supplies, valued at just over €1 million in total, were dispatched to South Sudan and to South Sudanese refugees in Northern Uganda earlier this year.

· Irish Aid also manages the Rapid Response Corps, a register of highly skilled individuals who are willing to deploy at short notice to assist in an emergency relief effort. In 2014, 8 Roster members were deployed to South Sudan and to Gambella to work with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as humanitarian affairs and community services officers, and as construction engineers.