UN: UNHCR revises funding requirements to tackle Africa's refugee crisis

New York, US (PANA) - The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has revised upwards its funding requirements for 2017 to address new needs of those who have been displaced in Africa due to conflicts, renewed fighting, increased violence and resulting food insecurity since July last year.

According to a UN statement made available to PANA in New York on Friday, the revised requirements now amount to US$781.8 million, including support costs (seven per cent), some US$297.9 million (61 per cent) higher than the earlier budget of US$483.9 million.

In the revised funding, over three million people are estimated to benefit from the agency's interventions by 31 December 2017.

"These numbers do not include local populations in host communities who themselves suffering from food insecurity and limited access to basic social services and infrastructure would also benefit from humanitarian interventions under the agency's inclusive support strategy," it noted.

UNHCR interventions will focus on increasing the integration of refugee response programmes with comprehensive national and regional protection and development frameworks, enhancing productive and coping mechanisms of refugee and host communities and strengthening resilience through partnerships and innovative approaches such as cash-based interventions.

The interventions will also include self-reliance initiatives in close cooperation with governments, humanitarian and development actors, civil society and the private sector.

"The 'planned assisted population' by the end of 2017 is about 3,026,300, 70 per cent higher than the 'population of concern' identified by UNHCR as of 31 October last year (1,770,688). The 'population of concern' included more than 1.2 million South Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

"Of the nearly 1.8 million internally displaced within South Sudan (as of November 2016), UNHCR interventions focused on protection and assistance of approximately 240,000 most vulnerable internally displaced persons (as of end-October 2016). During 2017, UNHCR estimates to assist up to 830,000 displaced assessed as the most vulnerable among the total population displaced," the statement said.

In terms of overall figures, some 6.1 million South Sudanese are estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, and additionally, disease, protracted instability, escalation of violence and widespread destruction have triggered unprecedented levels of food insecurity.

More than 4.8 million people, half the population, are severely food insecure due to simply being unable to bring in the harvest. The economic situation, too, continues to worsen with hyper-inflation at record levels of more than 800 per cent.

On top of these challenges, lack of in-country infrastructure such as roads or viable airfields, as well as the long rainy season of up to eight months per year have rendered South Sudan one of the most logistically challenging countries in the world in which to operate, and in which to bring assistance to those in need.

The breakdown of the revised requirements for the South Sudan Situation by country operations include: Uganda (US$283.8 million), South Sudan (US$171.7 million), Ethiopia (US$157.7 million), Sudan (US$68 million), Kenya (US$40.5 million), Democratic Republic of Congo (US$30.3 million) and Central African Republic (US$9.8 million).

UNHCR's headquarters and regional coordination amount to US$476,251.
-0- PANA  AA/AR 20Jan2017

20 january 2017 16:12:20

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