South Sudan

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ensure that the recommendations of the Oxfam Report From Crisis to Catastrophe, food security in South Sudan, published on 6 October, are implemented.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Oxfam Report From Crisis to Catastrophe, food security in South Sudan; and, in particular, how they will (1) assist the humanitarian efforts to create better conditions in United Nations camps, (2) improve co-ordination and delivery of aid to where people are, particularly in hard-to-reach areas, (3) ensure that diverse and sustainable interventions are made, building on local systems, and (4) improve management and planning to prevent future delays.

Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Lords Spokesperson (Women & Equalities), Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

We remain deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in South Sudan, and have recently announced a further £25 million of humanitarian assistance, making the UK one of the largest donors to the response with total contributions of £150 million this year.

UK support has enabled humanitarian agencies to provide essential assistance in both United Nations camps and ‘hard-to-reach’ areas. Our assistance is providing more than 400,000 people with emergency food and/or livelihoods, 170,000 people with clean water, and 180,000 with improved hygiene and sanitation, and will assist thousands more this year. The UK is also ensuring that its development programmes contribute where possible, by maintaining health and education services through local systems; and by building the resilience of households through livelihoods programmes. We have also funded dozens of staff to key positions in the UN to assist with coordination and planning.

This assistance has helped to prevent deterioration of food security to famine levels. It has also helped agencies deal with the recent cholera outbreak, and provided support to survivors of sexual violence. However, we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation moving into 2015, with the risk of famine still real if conflict continues. Security and access remain major constraints to reaching those in need, especially in the hard-to-reach areas. We continue to stress the important need for all parties to respect the cessation of hostilities, and to allow unhampered access for humanitarian assistance.

We will continue to engage on the recommendations in the report in our role as member of the Security Council and in discussions with UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Governments of the region, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD).

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