The international donor community gathered in Oslo early this week for the Conference on South Sudan, marking the second time this year donor nations are being asked to pledge more aid to tackle the South Sudan crisis. Some 41 donor nations’ delegates attended the conference hosted by Norway and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). More than $600 million in humanitarian assistance was pledged for South Sudan, of which nearly $300 million were promised by United States. Norway, Denmark, Finland, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia were among the countries offering their financial support on top of $536 million already pledged, as the world’s youngest nation is heading for the worst food crisis in 30 years.
“These generous pledges will, once paid, translate into life-saving relief to the most vulnerable people in South Sudan and to those who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries,” said UN Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos who co-chaired the meeting.
The United Nations has estimated that $1.8 billion in aid is needed for South Sudan, more than the $1.3 billion previously estimated. The conflict in South Sudan – that broke out on 15th December 2013 between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and fighters allied to former Vice President Riek Machar – has left thousands people dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced. Violence and fear have forced over 1.3 million people from their homes since mid-December 2013, according to the UN, of which close to a quarter million ﬂed to neighboring Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that by the end of this year half of South Sudan’s population will be either in flight, facing starvation, or dead. Other UN bodies such as Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also warned that there is a high risk the situation will worsen until the end of the year. The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis carried out in May 2014 by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reveals food security has deteriorated at an alarming rate and around a third of South Sudanese are now food insecure.
Sources: Agencies, United Nations