By Innocent Odoh United States Secretary of State John Kerry has announced nearly $138 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help the South Sudanese people, who have suffered through almost three years of senseless, brutal fighting.
A statement issued on Monday by the Public Affairs Division of the United States Embassy in Abuja, noted that Kerry made the announcement following today’s meeting with regional foreign ministers in Nairobi.
A recent outbreak of violence in Juba, broadened insecurity throughout the country, and severe economic decline have conspired to worsen an already dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Warring parties have terrorized and abused innocent civilians, especially women and girls. More than 2.5 million people have fled their homes – internally and to neighboring countries. Forty percent of the population now faces life-threatening hunger, with some people on the brink of starvation. Food security conditions are at their worst since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.
The new funding, provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), includes nearly 58,000 metric tons of food aid and specialty nutrition products, along with emergency health and nutrition services, safe drinking water, hygiene supplies, and cholera treatment and prevention messaging to stem the current outbreak.
USAID’s partners have also expanded medical and psychosocial support services for survivors of gender-based violence. “To deliver this aid, our UN and non-governmental partners must overcome significant obstacles. We commend their courage and dedication. We also demand that all parties stop attacking civilians, allow humanitarians unfettered access to those in need, and cease violations of humanitarian principles,” Kerry said in the statement.
The statement added that United States continues to stand by the people of South Sudan and remains the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance, providing more than $1.7 billion since the conflict began in December 2013.
“In addition, we also support community level peace-building programs and provide long-term development assistance such as basic education and health services. Despite the tremendous efforts of aid workers, no amount of humanitarian aid will end the violence or provide lasting solutions to this man-made crisis. We strongly urge the country’s leaders to prioritize the needs of their people by protecting the population and ensuring the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance,” the statement added.