Britain pledges $250m to combat South Sudan, Somalia famine

Regina Aluel holds her grandson Agop Manut, 11-months-old, who suffers acute malnutrition and respiratory distress at the clinic run by Doctors Without Borders in Aweil, northern Bahr al-Ghazal, South Sudan in 2016

Britain will provide additional aid money to South Sudan, where famine has been declared in parts of the country, and to Somalia, where there is a credible risk of famine, the government said on Wednesday.

Britain will provide 100 million pounds ($125 million) to each country in 2017/18 in addition to existing flows of aid.

“The world faces a series of unprecedented humanitarian crises and the real threat of famine in four countries,” International Development Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.

U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday that nearly 1.4 million children were at imminent risk of death in famines in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.

“These crises are being driven by conflict and drought and we must respond accordingly,” said Patel.

The statement said Britain’s new support would help bring food assistance to over 500,000 people in South Sudan and up to 1 million in Somalia.

In January, the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan said it was continuing discussions with the transitional national unity Government on the deployment of 4,000-strong regional protection force in the country.

The force was authorised by the UN Security Council in August 2016 but has yet to be deployed.

“The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) confirms that in preparation for the arrival of the Regional Protection Force, it continues to be engaged in discussions with the Transitional Government of National Unity as to the various modalities for the new Force, including where they will be deployed in Juba,” a statement issued by the Mission’s Office of the Spokesperson said.

The statement followed various media reports, including those suggesting that the government might have changed its position on the deployment of the Force.

“The Mission’s attention has been drawn to recent statements reported in the media concerning the deployment of the Regional Protection Force.

“It may be recalled that the United Nations Security Council in its Resolution 2304 decided that UNMISS force levels should be increased to a ceiling of 17,000 troops, including 4,000 for a Regional Protection Force.

“This was reaffirmed by the Security Council in its recent Resolution 2327, renewing the United Nations Mission in South Sudan for one year,” the spokesperson said.

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