The United States has announced humanitarian aid worth $133million for South Sudanese refugees, who now number over one million, as well as for internally displaced persons in South Sudan.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Gayle Smith announced the additional funding at the “High Level Side Event on South Sudan” on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly held last week.
The donation comes despite fresh calls for war by the deposed former vice president of South Sudan Dr. Riek Machar.
Machar’s group released a statement last weekend in Khartoum calling for renewal of armed struggle.
More than 2.7 million people have fled their homes — either to other parts of South Sudan or to neighbouring countries as refugees.
Uganda is hosting the lion’s share of South Sudanese refugees, with 373,626, more than a third of them arriving since early July.
The statement by the US Embassy in Kampala acknowledged Uganda’s contribution in hosting South Sudan refugees.
“We commend Uganda and the other neighboring countries that have provided asylum to the refugees — the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan,” said the US Embassy in a statement.
But the Americans warned that aid can only be effective if it reaches the people who need it most.
“No amount of humanitarian aid will end the violence or provide lasting solutions to this man-made crisis. This is why the U.S. demands that all parties stop attacks against civilians, allow humanitarians unrestricted access to those in need throughout South Sudan, and cease violations of international humanitarian law and principles,” the Embassy said in a statement.
“We call on South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize the safety and security of the citizens they represent, to restore stable environments for civilians and humanitarians, and to enable people to rebuild their lives.
The eruption in violence over the past three months has pushed nearly forty percent of South Sudanese to the verge of destitution, with some people on the brink of starvation, according to the US embassy statement.