The South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund is allocating $56.5 million in humanitarian support to South Sudan in anticipation of a rainy season that, last year, made 60 percent of the country inaccessible — adding to existing challenges such as food insecurity and an influx of refugees and returnees from neighbouring Sudan.
The money is expected to arrive from contributing donor countries starting at the beginning of March and will continue to pour in over the next two months, said Olga Aleshina, the senior portfolio manager for the South Sudan Common Humanitarian Fund, a part of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The funding stands to assist 1.5 million people with food, education, health, nutrition, water and sanitation projects in highly vulnerable areas; it will be directly administered by international non-governmental organizations, U.N. agencies and national NGOs, Aleshina told Devex.
This latest funding announcement, which U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Toby Lanzer made in Juba on Feb. 15, comes amidst a precarious time for South Sudan, which will commemorate its second anniversary as a nation in July.
The United Nations refugee agency recently reported a significant rise in the number of hepatitis E cases in refugees, with over 6,000 cases and 111 deaths since July. Skirmishes and breakouts of fighting between rebel factions in Sudan and southern Sudan are making it difficult for South Sudan to focus on building a new nation, Hilde Johnson, the head of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan, said Friday.
In his remarks, Lanzer said the Common Humanitarian Fund for South Sudan is a “vital tool to kick start the humanitarian operation at a critical time when the South Sudan Consolidated Appeal is less than 15 percent funded.”
In 2012, the United Nation’s consolidated humanitarian funding appeal for South Sudan was $1.18 billion; by the end of the year, 68 percent of it was funded. The Common Humanitarian Fund received 9 percent of that funding (about $118 million) with the support of Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
In 2013, the consolidated appeal for South Sudan is $1.16 billion, estimated to meet the needs of 3.3 million people. The Common Humanitarian Fund’s initial donor pledge of $56.5 million is within the range of what the fund is expected to raise and distribute this year, Aleshina said.
Amy Lieberman is a Devex correspondent and freelance journalist based in New York, where she has focused her coverage on the United Nations and global health. Her work has appeared in Women's eNews, IRIN, Policy Innovations, Europa Newswire and The New York Observer, among other publications.