JUBA, South Sudan

The EU commissioner for crisis management on Thursday announced new funding of €43.5 million ($51 million) in humanitarian aid to help South Sudan fight hunger.

The funds will be used, among others, to help those in need of protection and food assistance, as well as those affected by man-made and natural disasters.

“The humanitarian situation across South Sudan is extremely dire. Parts of this youngest African country are facing famine-like conditions and the country as a whole is bracing itself for the worst food crisis ever,” Janez Lenarcic, who is currently in South Sudan, told reporters in the capital Juba.

“There seems to be little international interest in this acute situation in the country. Only five donors, including the European Commission, account for almost 77% of the total aid to South Sudan. This lack of interest risks turning this already disastrous situation into a forgotten crisis. A scale-up of the humanitarian response is urgently needed from all donors to ensure adequate capacities are in place. Not getting things right now will make matters even worse next year with even more lives being lost,” he said.

He called for speedy implementation of the fragile 2018 revitalized peace deal in order to allow increased humanitarian access amid rising food insecurity in some parts of the country.

The EU official visited Jonglei and Pibor Administrative Area where he witnessed famine-like conditions partly caused by sub-national violence and flooding last year.

“The continued violence, especially over the past year, led to a devastating humanitarian situation. People are starving and I saw it with my own eyes yesterday when I visited some localities in the state of Jonglei and Pibor and Likuangole,” said Lenarcic.

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