Ploumen: €5 million extra in emergency aid for South Sudan, criticism of Juba government

The Netherlands is to set aside an additional €5 million in emergency aid for the victims of the crisis in South Sudan. At the same time part of the development programme for the country is to be suspended. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen announced this in Brussels today.

Ms Ploumen said, ‘The ongoing conflict in South Sudan is having disastrous consequences for the poverty-stricken population. Nearly five million people need aid immediately to survive. Action must also be taken to avert famine’.

Minister Ploumen expressed shock at the attitude of the South Sudanese government and the rebels. They seem to be taking no notice of the population’s fate; fighting continues despite a recently agreed ceasefire. ‘The South Sudanese government has money to fight a war, but at the same time they sit back and watch their own people starve.’ The minister pointed this out clearly to a delegation of the South Sudanese government recently during talks in Washington.

The Netherlands does not give any direct financial support to the South Sudanese government, though it does support programmes with government involvement. As the South Sudanese government is failing to make sufficient efforts towards peace, the Netherlands is suspending planned support to a programme in which the South Sudanese Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is involved. For the time being, the Netherlands will also refrain from making new funds available for the training of South Sudanese diplomats at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’. These measures send a clear message to the government, yet have a minimal effect on the population.

Some €3 million of the extra emergency aid will go to the special UN emergency aid fund for South Sudan. It will be used to transport the necessary supplies to the right locations as soon as possible, before the coming rainy season renders supply routes impassable.

'Besides the tragic situation in the country itself, we must also bear in mind the 300,000 Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries who urgently need help,’ said the minister. She has therefore decided to make €2 million available through the UN refugee agency UNHCR to shelter and support refugees, particularly in the Gambela region of Ethiopia.

This Dutch contribution is in addition to the €5 million previously contributed to emergency aid for Sudan, as well as the general annual contributions to various emergency aid organisations. At the request of the UN, Norway is hosting a donor conference for emergency aid to South Sudan, which will be held in Oslo tomorrow.