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Coronavirus – South Sudan: Urgent funding needed to address the COVID-19 outbreak and humanitarian needs of 7.4 million people in South Sudan

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JUBA, South Sudan, June 18, 2020/ — The Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Alain Noudéhou, on 16th June 2020 launched an urgent funding appeal to support the COVID-19 response and respond to new humanitarian needs; The COVID-19 Addendum to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan requests US$390 million and brings the overall humanitarian appeal for the year to $1.9 billion; The National COVID-19 Response Plan, which request $150 million, is included in this addendum; Humanitarian organizations aim to assist 7.4 million people by the end of the year, up from the 5.6 million planned before the outbreak.

“The humanitarian community in South Sudan is committed to stay the course and deliver much-needed essential services and assistance for the most vulnerable, including older people, people with disabilities, and women and girls, as well as those who have been newly hit, such as the urban poor,” Noudéhou said. Since COVID-19 was confirmed in South Sudan in April 2020, humanitarian organizations working alongside the Government and development partners and with support from donors have supported the National COVID-19 Response Plan with emphasis on prevention and mitigation. At the same time, he added: “The pre-COVID-19 humanitarian operations must continue while we address new needs created by the virus, to avoid life-threatening consequences for people already facing serious risks including renewed conflict, hunger and other more preventable diseases.”

The global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting countries around the world and is now spreading rapidly in South Sudan, with 1,776 cases confirmed as of 15 June. It is already having a significant negative impact on the humanitarian situation and any socio-economic and political progress the country has made over the past few years. Humanitarian organizations are working to respond to the outbreak and prevent its spread to new areas, Key achievements to date include 4 million people reached with risk communications about the virus; 2.3 million people reached with advanced food rations ahead of the lockdown and travel restrictions; over 300,000 internally displaced people reached with COVID-19 preventive messaging in Protection of Civilians sites and camp-like settings; and 265 health facilities supported with infection prevention and control supplies.

The collective response to the COVID-19 crisis will only be effective if organizations are able to operate in a safe environment. “South Sudan is currently experiencing an increasing level of intercommunal violence and continuation of armed conflict in parts of the country. This is killing hundreds, displacing tens of thousands and hampering delivery of assistance. We need to see urgent political progress to increase stability and security at all levels to protect civilians and humanitarian workers; to ensure predictable access; to enable delivery of humanitarian and health assistance; and to facilitate socio-economic recovery,” Noudéhou stressed.  

He also called for the continued support of long-standing donors and the commitment of new partners for timely and flexible funding and concluded: “We must come together for a coordinated effort that engages the whole South Sudanese society and international partners, and that prioritizes prevention above all.”

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