South Sudan: As Tensions Escalate, EU Announces €50 million Humanitarian Assistance

Written by | Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

As tensions and deadly clashes are escalating between military factions in South Sudan, the European Union announced on Monday it earmarked €50 million for urgent relief action to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in the African country.
The EU-funded assistance will help provide clean water, food, medical assistance, shelter and protection to the South Sudanese citizens who have been displaced while escaping the fighting that flared up in many parts of the country.
“We must do everything to prevent a humanitarian tragedy in South Sudan,” said European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, when announcing the urgent humanitarian assistance.
Recalling that most humanitarian workers have left the country since fighting erupted because of the dramatically deteriorating security situation, the commissioner said in a statement that “tens if not hundreds of thousands South Sudanese citizens are on the run from the fighting in many parts of the country…All of them need some kind of humanitarian assistance – otherwise their lives will be at risk.”
Since the outbreak of the clashes, thousands of civilians have flocked to the UN compounds to escape fightings and massacres. The number of fleeing persons amounted to 20,000 in Juba alone.
However, amid the escalating tensions, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan announced on Sunday that it began relocating non-critical staff from capital Juba to the Ugandan city of Entebbe.
Other nations, including the U.S.A, Great Britain, Kenya and Uganda are evacuating their nationals from the country and China announced it was withdrawing its oil workers from South Sudan.
Violent clashes erupted some ten days ago between government forces and troops loyal to fugitive former vice president, Riek Machar, who was dismissed last July, following an attempted coup as claimed by President Salva Kiir’s Government.
Machar who denied having attempted to overthrow President Kiir has started calling openly for the president’s ouster. His forces took control of Bor and of Bentiu, capital of the strategic state of Unité which harbors most national oil production and which represents 95% of the country’s fragile economy.
According to press reports up to 500 people have been killed since the Violence broke out and spread across several regions of South Sudan.
Over the weekend, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed the international community’s deep concern about the situation in South Sudan. “There is a risk of this violence spreading to other states, and we have already seen some signs of this,” Ban said.
Other world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have warned that the country is on the verge of a civil war, calling the conflicting parties to show restraint and to seek a peaceful solution through negotiation.
The UN and world leaders are actually attempting to find a diplomatic way out to the crisis to spare South Sudan a civil war, only two years and a half after its independence.

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