EU offers €106 million in urgent aid for Sudan

People in need in Sudan. [Commission]

The European Commission on Monday (23 October) announced a €106 million aid package for Sudan, saying around 4.8 million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance in the African country.

The new aid comes at a time United Nations aid agencies are facing an acute shortage of funds from global donors to meet relief needs in Sudan.

The package was announced as EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides was on a visit to Sudan, including to conflict-hit areas of Darfur.

“Here in Sudan the humanitarian situation continues to be critical,” Stylianides said in a statement issued by the Commission.

“Millions have been displaced for many, many years in Darfur,” he said, adding that the new EU funding will also assist refugees from South Sudan since a conflict erupted in their country in December 2013.

Of the total 106 million euros, 46 million will address humanitarian needs including food, nutrition, health, protection, shelter, education, water and sanitation, the European Commission said.

The remaining 60 million euros are to be channelled through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, to support displaced people, migrants and host communities.

“The additional funding will scale up much needed assistance both for South Sudanese refugees and in the newly opening areas in Blue Nile, South Kordofan and Jebel Marra,” the top UN aid official in Sudan, Marta Ruedas told AFP.

“The fact that it addresses both humanitarian and development needs in Sudan is a welcome sign of a more flexible response to the real needs of a protracted crisis.”

The United Nations aid agencies have been facing funding shortages in 2017 concerning the humanitarian needs of millions of people in Sudan.

The UN agencies had appealed for $804 million in aid for Sudan for 2017, but so far only 39% of that had been raised, the United Nations says.

It says the lack of money has led to dozens of health facilities being closed in conflict zones of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.