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Scotland donates USD 131,841.50 for S. Sudan refugees in Uganda

Humanitarian Coordinator, Alain Noudehou listens to IDPs in Tambura (photo credit: UNMISS)

By Matela Viola

The Scottish government has donated a total of 300,000 Sterling Pounds ($395524.50) from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) to help alleviate suffering in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan/northern Uganda, with up to £100,000 ($131841.50) allocated to each of the three crises.

The Scottish government announced yesterday through the Humanitarian Emergency Fund that the funding is meant to be routed through aid agencies on ground who are strategically placed to identify how to target resources in order to make the greatest impact.

The Scottish External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said, “The conflicts in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan have caused terrible suffering. It has led to the large scale displacement of local populations, with severe humanitarian consequences and an urgent need for assistance from the rest of the world.”

She further added that by doing such humanitarian activities, Scotland hopes to be viewed as a good global citizen that provides emergency life-saving aid to those in dire need.

“Our HEF panel member agencies are ready to provide in-country support to the innocent people caught up in these conflicts, many of whom are children. This financial support will help to provide much needed assistance,” she added.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, South Sudanese refugees in Uganda exceeded one million since July 2016 with over 85 per cent of them being women and children.

However the humanitarian situation remains dire for south Sudanese who have remained in the country. According to the office for coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) humanitarian bulleting of July, urgent humanitarian support was needed to save thousands of south Sudanese suffering due to the conflict in the country.

TOMBURA

Last week, the Humanitarian Coordinator, Alain Noudehou led a delegation of humanitarian agencies and partners to Tombura where he called for urgent scale up of humanitarian assistance in the Western Equatoria region of South Sudan.

While there, they observed that more than 18,500 people were internally displaced. Of these, the majority were women and children. Following lengthy access negotiations, they were able to provide initial support including food, non-food items and emergency shelter to 2,000 households. The remaining households are yet to be reached.

While remaining positive that the high level peace talks currently ongoing would yield peace, they expressed their desire to return home as soon as fighting stops.

Following fighting in Namutina and Nagero in April and May 2018, people were displaced into Tambura and surrounding areas. An estimated number of about 18,500 IDPs have been registered in the town and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance including food, WASH, non-food items and emergency shelter, among other needs.

“The humanitarian community in South Sudan has serious concerns about the deteriorating situation in Tambura and general operating environment for humanitarians in the Greater Equatorias region. I strongly urge all parties to the conflict to ensure that humanitarian agencies are given free, safe and unhindered access to all areas of South Sudan, and that their safety while traveling along the roads is made a priority,” said Alain.

UNITY

Reports of escalating violence in Unity state forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes in recent weeks, with violent clashes impacting most parts of the state is another reason this grant is timely. Since the war broke out, thousands of civilians have been trapped in areas of conflict, unable to leave or seek medical help or life-saving assistance. Still, humanitarian organizations have been struggling to safely deliver urgently needed supplies to these affected people such as food, water and medicine. Key affected areas are Leer, Mayendit and Koch counties where hunger and malnutrition have reached unprecedented levels overall in South Sudan. Adding salt to injury, localized famine was declared in Leer and Mayendit in February 2017. Earlier this year still, the condition was predicted to worsen after July if their food insecurity issue was not addressed soon.

To say the least, given reported cases of destruction of villages and crops, the situation of food insecurity will only deteriorate further if violence against civilians and their assets continues and humanitarians do not have access to affected persons to reach them with food assistance. Food distributions can provide a pull factor, which if not carefully managed can place civilians at risk. Aid agencies providing emergency food response in these areas like Inter-agency, Rapid Response Missions have been suspended.

The list of issues goes on with vulnerable and fleeing individuals gradually becoming at risk of contracting vaccine preventable diseases. Destruction of health facilities and disruption of services has made it impossible to implement routine expanded programmes of immunization and planned vaccination campaigns contributing to the widespread reports of measles since the beginning of 2018.

WAU

In June, Wau reported arrivals of nearly 2,000 displaced people in Agok and Hai Masna, about 8 kilometers from Wau town with a total of 1,193 and 774new IDPs in each town respectively. The IDPs, mainly women and children, reported fleeing indiscriminate killings by armed forces, rape and the burning of homes.

According to UNOCHA, the urgent needs of the displaced people include safe water, food, non-food items and emergency shelter among others. Response is ongoing for food, WASH, health and protection. In the last weeks of June, humanitarians in Wau have responded to the IDP crisis in Agok and distributed 15-day food rations to over 770 people and nutrition supplies to 246 children aged less than five years. Interference in humanitarian operations and restriction of movement by the National Security Service (NSS) continued to hamper humanitarian work, especially in areas outside Wau town.

The security officials have introduced additional requirements for humanitarian movement within and outside of Wau, including to Bazia in Wau County and Tonj in Warrap, which cause further delays in humanitarian operations. Further still, several NGOs have been blocked from leaving Wau for the same reasons.

 

 

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