Vienna, 20 November 2012 – "Austria responds to the humanitarian crisis in Uganda and South Sudan by making 1.45 million euros available", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger explained after the meeting of the Ministerial Council on 20 November. "Our contribution is intended to provide help in critical situations that are not in the limelight of the media but still require our political attention and humanitarian commitment."
The Vice-Chancellor said that Austria would provide 800,000 euros from the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, to ease the difficult situation of refugees in Western Uganda. The current crisis was triggered by armed conflict between the government's army and rebel militias in eastern Congo. More than 50,000 people have already fled from eastern Congo. According to the UNHCR, up to 150,000 refugees are expected in the worst case. Uganda, a priority country of Austria's development cooperation, has already taken in some 200,000 refugees.
"We will make 650,000 euros from the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund available as a contribution to mastering the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. The funds will be given to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for supply of food, water, emergency shelters and medical aid", Spindelegger said. Since mid-2011, there have been major refugee movements from Susan to South Sudan (the ICRC speaks of 170,000 people) because of the border conflict between Sudan and South Sudan.
The crisis hits a country where the majority of the population live under extreme conditions. 75% of the people have no access to medical care, 70% have no access to clean water. Add to this chronic malnourishment. According to data of the World Food Program (WFP), about 1 million people depend on food aid. The maternal and infant mortality rates of the country are among the higest world-wide.
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