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Estonia is helping residents affected by the South Sudan conflict

28.05.2014

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Estonia is helping residents of South Sudan who are suffering due to the internal conflict in the country. Assistance is being allocated through UN funds and the International Committee of the Red Cross. "The conflict between the government of South Sudan and the rebels has led to the spread of violence. Almost a million internal refugees are being forced to leave their homes and hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country," Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said. He added that there is also a great shortage of food in South Sudan.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), four million residents of South Sudan need humanitarian aid and the OCHA estimates this to equal up to 1.8 billion U.S. dollars. Currently humanitarian aid has reached only 1.4 million people. 1.3 million people have had to leave their homes because of violence, of whom 359 000 have fled to neighbouring countries. 75 000 people have sought shelter in UN bases in South Sudan.

Three years ago, Estonia supported the foundation of an independent South Sudan state. "We still consider this to be the right decision today, because the aim of creating a new state was to leave conflict behind," the Estonian Foreign Minister said. "Unfortunately much still needs to be done in order for South Sudan to be able to independently govern their own country and control the security situation. The prerequisites for this are functioning government agencies, a sense of social confidence and reconciliation," he added.

Paet stated that currently the main political aim is to prevent the further spread of violence and instability in the region. "The concluding of a peace agreement on May 9 in South Sudan between the President and rebel leader was an important step towards improving the situation and ending the conflict. Now it is necessary for both parties to comply with the agreement and take full responsibility for the actions of their troops," he noted.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia has supported South Sudan through various UN funds since the establishment of the state in 2011. "We have contributed to the activities of the UN Children's Fund UNICEF in South Sudan and supported the activities of the United Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in order to help alleviate the situation," Paet said. "Given the current humanitarian crisis, we have decided to increase our support," he added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allocate 200 000 euros to United Nations funds and the International Red Cross Committee in order to improve the situation of the people of South Sudan.

For more information about the needs of and South Sudan as well as the current situation: http://reliefweb.int/country/ssd.


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