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Additional €3 million Humanitarian Assistance Funding for South Sudan, Nigeria and Burundi announced

Budget/funding, News/feature, Ireland, Africa, 2015

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, T.D., and the Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Mr. Seán Sherlock, T.D., today announced €3 million in additional Irish Aid funding in response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, Nigeria and Burundi.

The funding will comprise:

€1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (ICRC) for its humanitarian operations in South Sudan. €500,000 for the ICRC’s operations in Nigeria.

€1 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for its South Sudan regional refugee response. €500,000 for the UNHCR’s Burundi regional refugee response.

Announcing the additional funding, Minister Flanagan said:

“South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is in crisis, on the brink of famine and in the midst of a bitter conflict. This has resulted in one of the most severe large-scale humanitarian crises in the world today.

“Despite the recently signed peace agreement, fighting continues and the number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries is increasing. 630,000 people have now taken refuge in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya. The majority are women and children and many are in very poor health having walked for weeks to reach shelter.

“Together with the international community, I reiterate my call on all parties to this conflict to protect civilians and to immediately end unlawful attacks against them, their property and their livelihoods.

“I am also today calling on the international community to mobilise additional resources to meet the ever increasing needs of the most vulnerable South Sudanese people.

Today’s announcement brings Ireland’s total funding to help those affected by the crisis in South Sudan to over €18.7 million since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.

Minister of State Sherlock added:

“I am concerned that election-related violence in Burundi since the Spring of this year has caused over 192,000 refugees to flee into neighbouring countries, many to existing refugee camps in Tanzania.

“The additional €500,000 in funding to the UNHCR’s operations in the Burundian region which we are announcing today will help to alleviate the dire conditions in which the refugees find themselves.

“In addition, violent attacks by the militant group, Boko Haram, on civilians has displaced over 1.5 million people within Nigeria. The additional €500,000 in funding to the ICRC for their work in Nigeria will help in the delivery of emergency food and essential household items to nearly 260,000 people in hard to reach areas.”

Notes to the 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

· The crisis in South Sudan remains one of the most severe large-scale humanitarian crises in the world today. Widespread violence which broke out in December 2013 has forced 2.2 million people to flee their homes. 1.64 million South Sudanese people have been displaced internally, including 877,000 children under 18 years. 200,000 internally displaced persons are sheltering in Protection of Civilian (PoC) sities in Bentiu, Juba, Malakal, Bor, Melut and Wau. 630,000 people have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, including more than 320,000 children who are living as refugees in Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan and Kenya.

· The conflict and recurrent natural disasters are also taking a toll on the already weak economy of South Sudan. Alarming levels of hunger are being intensified by conflict, flooding, droughts and displacement, and harvests have been disrupted and food production has been severely reduced.

· An estimated 4.6m people, or 40% of South Sudan’s estimated population, face acute hunger and require lifesaving food or livelihoods assistance. This is the highest level of severely food insecure people since the start of the conflict and 800,000 more than at the same time in 2014. The lives of more than a quarter of a million children are at risk from rapidly worsening malnutrition. In half of South Sudan’s states, one in three children suffers acute malnutrition.

· Since 2012 to date, Ireland has provided €24.8 million in humanitarian assistance funding to support UN agencies and NGOs in their humanitarian response operations in South Sudan and the region, focused on preventing famine, providing vital nutrition supplies, and water and child protection services. So far in 2015, Ireland has provided €5.778 million in 2015, and almost €11 million was provided in 2014. This additional funding of €2 million brings Ireland’s total funding to €7.778 million in 2015, or €18.7 million since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013.

· The UNHCR South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan seeks US$292 million to meet needs but is only 19% funded. The ICRC revised their Emergency Appeal for South Sudan in June 2015, seeking €149 million, only 30% of which has been funded to date.

· To respond to the Burundian refugee crisis, UNHCR developed a Regional Refugee Response Plan which aims to address current and evolving needs. UNHCR’s total financial requirements for the Burundi situation, including providing shelter, sanitation and other services to Burundian refugees in Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda, currently amounts to USD 221.8 million. This appeal is currently only 25% funded.

· Since 2011, the Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, has carried out violent attacks on civilians, displacing over 1.5 million people within Nigeria. In May 2013 the government of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in the three states Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

· In total, it is estimated that over 9 million Nigerians have been affected by the violence, a third of whom are in acute need of humanitarian assistance. In addition, over 150,000 Nigerians have fled to neighbouring countries. The insurgency gained in strength and brutality in 2014 and the effects have been felt in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

· Boko Haram is seeking to establish an Islamic state with strict adherence to Shariah law in the economically marginalised north-eastern states of Nigeria.

· ICRC’s revised emergency appeal for Nigeria of €64 million is only 43% funded.