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Estonia Helping Residents of South Sudan Return to Everyday Life

30.09.2011

The Foreign Ministry is responding to the UN’s appeal for humanitarian aid with 50 000 euros to support the efforts of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in improving the availability of food and increasing economic opportunities, especially for women. The sum was allocated from the Foreign Ministry’s budget for humanitarian aid.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that for years Sudan is classified by the UN as one of the worst humanitarian disaster regions in the world. Since South Sudan became independent in July 2011 the nation needs even more help. “As a result of the domestic conflict in Sudan that has gone on for years, millions of people have lost their lives or been forced to leave their homes. Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan have also returned to their homes at the appeal of the government, but they lack almost all the things necessary for life,” he added.

The UN has estimated the need for aid in South Sudan at 1.6 billion dollars, of which only 34% has so far been obtained. In addition to providing humanitarian aid, the UN’s goal is to help normalise the everyday lives of women and children, creating opportunities for them to earn a living primarily through agriculture. The support is being directed to 236 000 people in need, most of whom are re-settled families that consist mainly of women and children.

The violence continues and conflicts take place between tribes in various areas of Sudan. By June of this year 306 000 people had returned from North Sudan, 128 000 of them after the independence referendum in January of this year. The situation of those who returned is very difficult due to adverse weather conditions and a sudden rise in food prices. The situation is particularly difficult for women and children.

As a result of the war that began in 1983 and has claimed two million lives, Sudan is now one of the poorest countries in the world. Humanitarian aid needs are great in many of the country’s regions – the residents lack food and drinking water and the educational and health care systems are deficient. Estonia has supported efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in Sudan since 2004.
 

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