(The Southern African Times) – The UN agencies on Tuesday appealed for 1.2 billion U.S. dollars to provide vital humanitarian assistance for more than 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees living in five neighboring countries in 2021.
The refugees are being hosted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. The majority of South Sudanese refugees are hosted in relatively remote and under-developed areas.
The UNHCR and other partners said this year’s response includes a renewed and increased focus on resilience and supporting livelihoods with the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on socio-economic conditions for both refugees and host communities.
“Funding is urgently needed to provide life-sustaining assistance, including shelter, access to safe drinking water, education, and health services,” UNHCR said in a joint statement. And the crisis continues to be a children’s one with more than 65 percent of the refugee population under 18, including 66,000 children who have been separated from their parents or usual caregivers, according to UNHCR.
According to the UN, the COVID-19 pandemic combined with climate change-related challenges including severe flooding, droughts, and desert locusts have compounded an already dire situation.