Oxfam has called for increased donor funding to save lives in South Sudan.
The international humanitarian organisation said the people of South Sudan who are already exposed to conflict and hunger, are now facing a new threat – cholera.
The outbreak of the highly contagious disease in Juba ahead of the donor pledging conference in Oslo, organised by Norway and the United Nations, demonstrates how urgently funds are needed to respond to the increasingly dire humanitarian crisis unfolding in the world’s newest nation, Oxfam said.
“The confirmation of 138 cholera cases in Juba is a stark reminder of the multitude of risks the citizens of this country have been forced to endure since conflict broke out in December 2013,” said Oxfam’s South Sudan country director Cecilia Milan who is in Oslo. “There is no question – the international community must act now to prevent a rapidly escalating food crisis – and now potentially a public health emergency – in South Sudan.”
Cholera is both preventable and treatable, but with aid budgets for South Sudan already desperately underfunded, lives stand to be lost because responders lack the funds they need to react rapidly to this outbreak.
Milan said: “The people of South Sudan have already suffered too much – so many lives have been lost to conflict and so many more stand to be lost due to hunger. We can’t morally sit by and watch a public health crisis take additional lives in South Sudan. The humanitarian responders stand ready to do what is needed to avert a hunger and disease catastrophe in South Sudan. But we need donors to stand behind us and give vital funding to enable us to carry out our work.”
The UN’s appeal for South Sudan now stands at 1.8 billion USD (£1.07 billion) until December 2014. Currently, only 515 million USD (£306 million) has been received. The UN has projected that by December, 4 million people will go hungry, 7 million will be in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, 1.5 million will be displaced within South Sudan, and over 850,000 will have fled to neighbouring countries.
In addition to asking donors to pledge funds at the Oslo conference, Oxfam is calling on the British public to donate generously to its emergency appeal.
Oxfam has so far helped over 180,000 people in South Sudan and 63,000 in Uganda, working to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases by providing access to clean water and sanitation, and providing household items such as mosquito nets, blankets, cook stoves and charcoal for cooking.
The organisation also supports peace-building initiatives in communities where it is working, both in South Sudan and Uganda. It plans to expand its work to help many more but needs to find the funds to do so.
You can donate now at oxfam.org.uk/southsudan or if you have a UK mobile phone service you can text DONATE to 70066 to give £5.