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South Sudan: UK warns of humanitarian disaster

The British government will provide emergency support to help 100,000 people facing severe food shortages in South Sudan.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Today International Development Minister Stephen O’Brien warned of a looming humanitarian crisis after visiting the volatile border with Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people are already facing hunger due to poor rain, insecurity and an influx of returnees from Sudan.

But he stressed that lifesaving emergency British aid is not the longterm answer to this avoidable disaster. He urged the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to find a lasting solution.

International Development Minister Stephen O’Brien said:

What I saw at Jamam refugee camp is the very real human suffering of the ongoing problems between Sudan and South Sudan. A devastating combination of conflict and food insecurity is leading to a humanitarian disaster, which we must all do what we can to avert.

We face a crisis on an unimaginable scale if those South Sudanese living north of the border are forced by the Government of Sudan to leave. I want to remind both governments that it is their own people who are suffering as a result of their inaction.

Britain remains committed to helping the poorest people of this troubled region - but our aid budget is not a substitute for a lasting settlement.

During his visit he went to Jamam refugee camp, where 36,000 people are stranded after fleeing the fighting across the border in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. They are among more than 100,000 men, women and children who have been displaced by the violence between the two countries.

South Sudan is also facing a potential economic crisis after halting oil production in January in response to Sudan’s seizure of South Sudanese oil.

Stephen O’Brien called for an immediate ceasefire and for the two governments to return to negotiations to resolve their remaining differences - including oil revenues, which could provide valuable resources to fund basic services.

Read the full press release

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Published 26 April 2012