France Steps Up Efforts To Assist South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia

Published on 12 August 2014

ADDIS ABABA – The French government has announced a contribution of €500,000 (US$669,500) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food and nutritional support for South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.

The French contribution will help WFP assist nearly 70,000 refugees who have fled conflict in South Sudan.  The funds will be used to purchase wheat for general food distributions as well as a specialized high-protein food known as Super Cereal, which combats malnutrition among children under 5 years and pregnant women who are registered in WFP’s nutrition programmes.

“The majority of the South Sudanese refugees crossing the Ethiopian border are women and children, often arriving seriously malnourished after a difficult journey,” said WFP Ethiopia Country Director Abdou Dieng. “It is vital that we have the resources to meet their food and nutrition needs, and we are deeply grateful to France for responding to our appeal.”

More than 180,000 refugees have arrived in Ethiopia from South Sudan since the conflict there broke out in December. WFP has been distributing general monthly food rations to all refugees. To fight malnutrition, WFP has also been supplying fortified supplementary foods to pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 5 years, in partnership with the NGOs Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Goal and Concern Worldwide, as well as with the refugee agency of the Government of Ethiopia, ARRA, and the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

“This support from the French government is part of our global effort to respond to humanitarian and food crises. Along with the Syrian and Central African Republic crises, the South Sudan situation is a priority this year under food aid programming. The current situation of South Sudanese refugees in Gambela calls for critical and urgent intervention in terms of food and nutritional assistance, and WFP is a key actor in that field,” said Brigitte Colley, Ambassador of France to Ethiopia. “We are also grateful to the Ethiopian government for its commitment to welcome these refugees.”

In addition to providing food assistance for refugees in Ethiopia, the French government has also contributed €300,000 (more than US$400,000) this year to WFP’s separate programme to provide nutritional support for Ethiopian children and mothers.

WFP provides food assistance to 570,000 refugees in Ethiopia originating from South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Through a cross-border operation, WFP also delivers life-saving food assistance into South Sudan through Ethiopia, including by airlift and airdrop into some of the most vulnerable, food-insecure communities that have been isolated by conflict.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food in emergencies and working with communities to build resilience. In 2013, WFP assisted more than 80 million people in 75 countries.

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Stephanie Savariaud, WFP/Ethiopia, cell. +251 911201976