UK to assist thousands at risk of famine in S. Sudan: official

British Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson shaking hands with President Salva Kiir in Juba, August 13, 2019 (SSPPU photo)

August 14, 2019 (JUBA) – Thousands of people in South Sudan will receive lifesaving food and water from British aid, an official said.

On Tuesday, the British Minister for Africa, Andrew Stephenson announced an extra £18 million of UK donation, which will be given to trusted partners to help vulnerable families in desperate need.

At least 7 million people in South Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance and about 2 million on the brink of famine, aid agencies say.

“South Sudan is a humanitarian catastrophe and vulnerable people face the daily threat of starvation. I have seen first-hand that UK aid is saving lives and today’s step up in support will deliver urgently needed food, water and health services to hundreds of thousands of people,” Stephenson said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

The UK official, however, called on South Sudan government and other parties involved in the conflict to stop obstructing the delivery of aid and step up efforts to help the millions of malnourished children, families and communities get access to vital supplies.

“We call on the Government of South Sudan to immediately lift all humanitarian access restrictions and to commit more resources to provide basic services such as health and education to give people hope for the future,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Stephenson urged the government to accelerate progress on the peace process, including security sector reform, establishing an open dialogue with opposition leader Riek Machar and delivering on the $100 million they pledged to help achieve peace.

“With just three months until the formation of the transitional government, time is running out. Significant effort and compromise are required to fully implement the peace agreement,” he said.

Last year, UK aid reportedly reached over 220,000 people with food assistance, over 100,000 children with nutrition support, over 142,000 people with emergency water, hygiene and sanitation, and over 83,000 families with emergency livelihoods kits in the war-hit nation.

South Sudan plunged into civil war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused the country’s former vice-president, Machar, of plotting a coup