UNHCR, United Nations Refugee Agency and partners appeal for $ 1.2 billion to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to more than 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees living in five neighboring countries in 2021 .
South Sudan became the youngest nation in the world almost ten years ago, but today millions of its people are displaced within or outside its borders. The crisis continues to be a childhood crisis with over 65% of the refugee population under the age of 18, including 66,000 children who have been separated from their parents or regular caregivers.
The majority of South Sudanese refugees are hosted in relatively remote and underdeveloped areas. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the challenges of climate change, including severe flooding, droughts and locusts, have exacerbated an already dire situation.
Funding is urgently needed to provide life-saving assistance, including shelter, access to clean water, education and health services. Food shortages are particularly acute, with insufficient funding already leading to cuts in rations affecting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
With the pandemic weighing on socio-economic conditions for both refugees and host communities, this year’s response includes a renewed and increased focus on resilience and livelihood support.
Humanitarian partners will also step up prevention and response to gender-based violence and prioritize support for people with specific needs, including strengthening child protection programs and scaling up psychosocial and mental health support.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda continue to generously welcome South Sudanese refugees and take steps towards their inclusion in national systems – including health and education, in accordance with the Global Compact on Refugees. We call for renewed support from the international community to support its efforts.
While some 350,000 refugees have independently made the decision to return to South Sudan since 2017 and efforts are being made to advance the peace process and support such returns, the conditions are not yet in place for large-scale returns and funds are now needed to help the refugees and the local communities that have hosted them.
The South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan 2021 complements the South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan 2021, also launched today. HRP needs $ 1.7 billion in funding to provide life-saving assistance and protection to 6.6 million people – including 350,000 refugees – in need across the country, many of whom face severe food insecurity in due to conflicts, climate change emergencies and the economic impact of COVID-19.