NEW YORK, United States of America, April 25, 2016 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today expressed deep concern at funding shortfalls which could affect the assistance that is being provided to South Sudanese refugees in Sudan.
“Our resources are being stretched at a time when needs are quickly growing,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan, Mohammed Adar. “Over 50,000 South Sudanese have crossed into Sudan since the beginning of 2016, surpassing the planning figure set for the entire year. Further shortfalls in funding will hamper our ability to continue providing assistance for the existing South Sudanese refugees in Sudan while also responding to the emergency needs of new arrivals.” UNHCR humanitarian requirements for 2016 remain 18% funded, leaving over US$128 million in unmet needs.
The heads of UNICEF and WFP have voiced similar concerns about the limited resources available to respond to the basic needs of South Sudanese seeking refuge in Sudan, including access to clean water, shelter, emergency household supplies and adequate protection. The situation is particularly worrisome as the agencies’ funding shortages coincide with a period of heightened food insecurity in part of South Sudan. This, in addition to the ongoing violence, is driving rapidly increasing numbers of South Sudanese into Sudan.
The UNICEF Sudan Representative, Geert Cappelaere, also warns that his organisation is running out of funding for the provision of critical support to more than 100,000 children from South Sudan in dire need of urgent humanitarian assistance. “With only 11% of the total humanitarian requirement funded so far in 2016 and an estimated US$105 million shortfall, UNICEF is gravely concerned it may have to cut back on crucial lifesaving water, sanitation, nutrition, health and protection assistance to those vulnerable children”, Cappelaere emphasised.
Echoing the concern of his UNICEF and UNHCR colleagues, WFP Representative and Country Director Adnan Khan said: “We are concerned that if we do not receive sufficient funding soon enough, we will not be able to respond to the needs of South Sudanese refugees who continue to flee their country to seek food and refuge.”
WFP is currently facing a 12-month funding shortfall of US$181 million of which US$19 million will be used to meet the needs of the South Sudanese refugees through its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation.
UNICEF, UNHCR and WFP have banded together to appeal for additional funding that will be required to meet greater needs created by the rapidly increasing number of South Sudanese fleeing into Sudan.
Conflict and food insecurity are forcing more and more South Sudanese to flee their country and cross into neighbouring countries. A total of 678,000 South Sudanese refugees are now being hosted in the neighbouring countries with 221,000 in Sudan.