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EU provides US$18 million to support displaced persons from Sudan

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European Union
European Union

The European Union (EU) on Monday announced 18.3 million U.S. dollars to support the integration and well-being of thousands of people who have fled the ongoing fighting in Sudan and found safety in South Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia.

The EU said the funds will be channeled through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in which South Sudan will receive 8.60 million dollars, while Chad and Ethiopia will each receive 4.85 million dollars each.

Timo Olkkonen, ambassador of the EU to South Sudan, said the funds will support the South Sudanese government to integrate returnees and refugees and expand national basic services, in line with national policies and the upcoming Global Refugee Forum this month.

“This new funding reaffirms the EU’s willingness to provide tangible support to host countries. Through this regional program, the EU intends to be forward-looking and ambitious in its response to the displacement crisis, complementing lifesaving humanitarian interventions with early-on, longer-term development support,” Olkkonen told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, during the signing of the funding agreement with the UN agencies.

The EU official said the program aims at including refugees and returnees in service delivery systems, while improving their livelihoods and ensuring peaceful coexistence with host communities, in synergy with other EU-funded initiatives on forced displacement and will improve living conditions of those forced to flee, and at the same time contribute to security and stability in the region.

Marie-Helene Verney, UNHCR representative in South Sudan, said the funding will enable refugees and returnees to access national services such as health and education, in addition to economic opportunities that will improve their self-reliance.

Verney said over 420,000 people have crossed the border into South Sudan in search of protection and assistance since the conflict started in Sudan eight months ago.

She said the returnees are living in an extremely dire condition with access to basic services limited and lagging infrastructure that makes the humanitarian response extremely challenging.

“Humanitarian action alone is not enough to address the enormous needs, early engagement of development partners such as the EU is welcome and needed to help people rebuild their life and restore their dignity and self-reliance,” Verney said.

John McCue, acting chief of mission at IOM South Sudan, said the funding will be used to provide livelihoods support, particularly to youth and women including training on financial literacy and entrepreneurship, as well as support to access funds to set up businesses.

McCue said farmers will also receive climate-resilient seeds, as well as training on topics such as food processing and conservation, business management, marketing, and commercialization and investments will also be made in efforts to promote local development and encourage peaceful coexistence between forcibly displaced people and local communities.

South Sudan hosts more than 2.2 million internally displaced persons and over 337,000 refugees. Since the start of the conflict in Sudan on April 15, over 425,985 individuals have crossed the border into South Sudan.

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