The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today welcomed a multi-year contribution of £7.5 million (approximately US$9.9 million) spread over three years from the Government of the United Kingdom to respond to the critical needs of South Sudanese refugees in Sudan, and those anticipated to arrive between 2018 and 2020.UNHCR will use the funds to provide life-saving assistance to respond to the vital needs of the South Sudanese refugees as well as host communities in White Nile; West and South Kordofan; and East and South Darfur in the area of protection, water and sanitation, and education. The funds will also allow UNHCR to procure non-food items, such as blankets, sleeping mats and cooking kits, for this vulnerable population. South Sudanese refugees arrive in Sudan in very poor condition, exhausted after long walks to reach the borders and in urgent need of protection, especially children who have lost or been separated from their families during the journey.
Dr. Christopher Pycroft, Head of the Department for International Development in Sudan, said “The unfolding tragedy in South Sudan has had terrible human consequences. The British people stand by those affected by conflict and famine, and commit to continue to support the hundreds of thousands of women and children who have been forced to flee their own country, by providing them with safety, food and water and a roof over their heads. DFID has committed to provide this assistance over three years to help our partner UNHCR, and the other aid agencies involved, to plan ahead and deliver life-saving assistance on the ground more effectively, and to help ensure that children continue to have access to Education even during this time of crisis.”
The UK has been a major donor to UNHCR in Sudan for years, contributing over £ 14.8 million (around US$ 20.8 million) in the past four years. This has enabled UNHCR to assist refugees in the country and has greatly contributed to supporting the South Sudan response since the early days of the crisis.
Noriko Yoshida, UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan particularly welcomed this multi-year agreement and said: “The United Kingdom has consistently demonstrated its commitment to UNHCR activities to assist the most vulnerable children and people from South Sudan. In an operational context that can change very quickly, this multi-year funding will give more predictability and flexibility to UNHCR to respond more efficiently and at scale when a crisis hits and help respond to expected needs in 2018 as part of our contingency planning”.
To date, close to 453,000 South Sudanese have crossed into Sudan since December 2013, and are now residing across 9 states, in addition with an estimated 350,000 remaining in Sudan since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Sudan continues to open its borders to refugees seeking safety in the country, which is critical as the conflict in South Sudan is becoming ever more complex in parallel with a worsening food security situation.