Hunger threatens millions as aid agencies warn of massive funding gap in South Sudan

Aid agencies issue grave warning ahead of crucial donor conference for South Sudan, stating millions of people risk plunging deeper into crisis if urgent funding is not delivered.

Donors attending Tuesday’s Geneva pledging conference for South Sudan must address a massive funding shortfall– more than USD 1.1 billion of the humanitarian response- in order to avert immense suffering for millions of people.

7.8 million people in South Sudan are hungry now and aid agencies - CARE, International Rescue, Committee, Oxfam, Mercy Corp, Danish Refugee Council, Norwegian Refugee Council, CAFOD and Christian Aid - warn that hundreds of thousands more could lose access to life-saving assistance, if funding isn’t urgently delivered.

"The hunger season is starting now. Governments can make a difference by committing urgent funding for emergency needs to save thousands of lives and prevent further suffering for millions of South Sudanese. Families need help now,” says Zlatko Gegic, Country Director for Oxfam in South Sudan.

Collectively, the eight agencies require USD 123 million to reach 3.8 million people with assistance by the end of December 2015. So far, their budgets have a shortfall of USD 39.4 million.

“While needs have risen dramatically, funding hasn’t. Those who need help the most, particularly in remote communities- many of them cut off by fighting – may also end up being cut off from humanitarian aid,” says Ms. Aimee Ansari, Country Director for CARE South Sudan.

“Hundreds of thousands of children are malnourished, at risk of disease and death, yet they are the future doctors, lawyers, civil servants and community leaders of South Sudan. Not getting aid to them in time further undermines the development potential of this nation,” says Ronald-Paul Veilleux, Country Director for International Rescue Committee.

“Our organizations have helped millions of South Sudanese access food, clean water, medicine, education, livelihood support and protection. If donors continue to delay, South Sudanese may plunge back into crisis,” says Mohammed Qazilbash, Country Director for Mercy Corp in South Sudan.

Increased fighting in Unity and Upper Nile states has forced our agencies to suspend activities and in some cases relocate staff, leaving thousands of people vulnerable.

“Recent violence has driven civilians further away from assistance. Aid supplies have also been looted. Delayed funding sets back the resumption of response activities meaning vulnerable communities lack help at a time they need it the most,” says Jane Andanje, Country Director for CAFOD Trócaire.