More humanitarian aid to South Sudan

2014-03-25 21:12
 (Phil Moore, AFP)

(Phil Moore, AFP)

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Washington - The United States said on Tuesday it is increasing humanitarian aid to South Sudan to $411m, funnelling it through UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

Washington added the $83m in aid to address the needs of South Sudanese affected by an armed conflict that has been raging since 15 December, the state department said.

"With this new funding, the United States humanitarian assistance is nearly $411m for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to aid victims of the conflict in South Sudan, including internally displaced persons and refugees in South Sudan, as well as those South Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring countries," the state department said.

The aid will be channelled through UN agencies like the World Food Programme, Unicef and the High Commission on Refugees as well as NGOs.

About 250 000 people have fled to neighbouring countries like Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan, and more than 700 000 have been displaced internally by the fighting, according to US and UN estimates.

The warring parties resumed a second round of talks Tuesday in Addis Ababa, which is urging the sides to revive a moribund cease-fire signed 23 January.

Fighting initially broke out within the South Sudanese army between soldiers loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

It then spread, leaving several thousand dead and nearly a million South Sudanese homeless.

The fighting has been accompanied by ethnic massacres, with the political rivalries between Kiir and Machar intensified by antagonism between the Dinka and Nuer people, and the legacy of a long civil war against Sudan which ended with South Sudan's independence in July 2011.

The United States, the country that has worked hardest to bring about South Sudan's creation, has stepped up pressure on the warring factions to avoid breaking up the young country.

The United States involvement in South Sudan dates back to its support for the separatist South Sudanese forces of John Garang, who died in 2005.

Analysts say Washington has both humanitarian and strategic interests in the country.

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