Three months on from the Oslo Humanitarian Pledging Conference for South Sudan, international aid organisation CARE Australia has warned that aid funding remains alarmingly low for one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises.
Since the conflict erupted in December last year, 1.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes, including 400,000 who have fled to neighbouring countries. Around 3.5 million people are now facing severe food shortages across South Sudan, including some 235,000 children who will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year. According to the United Nations (UN), an estimated 50,000 severely malnourished children under five may die if treatment services are not significantly scaled-up.
Jacqui Symonds, a member of CARE Australia’s Humanitarian and Emergency Response Unit, said current funding levels fall well below what is needed to tackle the humanitarian challenges on the ground.
‘The situation in South Sudan is now one of the world’s most desperate humanitarian crises. The UN’s $1.8 billion appeal that was pledged in May to support the relief effort is less than 50 per cent funded. This desperately needs to change,’ Ms Symonds said.
According to figures from the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordination and Humanitarian Affairs’ Financial Tracking Service, a number of donors, including the United States, United Kingdom, Norway and the European Commission, pledged strong support for the crisis in South Sudan at the Oslo Conference, yet these commitments have not yet been completely fulfilled.
‘Just last week, the Australian Government pledged a further $5 million in humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, bringing Australia’s contribution to more than $18 million since the conflict began. This funding will help provide emergency food, water, shelter and medical assistance, but further support is needed, in particular to help aid organisations working outside the UN’s Protection of Civilian sites.