€1M for Sudan refugees

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The Netherlands has pledged €1 million for assistance to people who have fled the disturbances in the South Sudan, Minister Lilianne Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has announced.

The funds will be used to assist Sudanese people who have fled their homes since fights broke out in the country in December. More than 123,000 people found shelter in neighboring countries; many are in the poorest parts of Uganda. “In many cases it concerns entire families who had to leave everything behind when they fled. They have nothing. Urgent measures are needed to help them survive,” Minister Ploumen said. The United Nations has calculated that some €63 million is needed to supply the refugees with urgent needs like water, food and housing. The Dutch support will be added to the budget of UN refugee organization UNHCR, which cooperates in relief initiatives with the Government of Uganda. Minister Ploumen visited the war torn east province of Sudan last year. She said it were her discussions with local church leaders that convinced that these had taken an independent position and could play a mediator role. The bishops from three regions received financial support for their transport, logistics and personnel costs. Recently week this turned out invaluable, when the support from the Netherlands helped in achieving a truce in the Jonglei area in South Sudan. “We were able to find the right players in the field, who conducted their tasks and brought parties together,” said Ploumen.