By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
August 24, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Germany has contributed 750,000 euros to provide ongoing humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Ethiopia, mostly from South Sudan.
Nearly 190,000 South Sudanese have fled to Ethiopia since conflict erupted in the country in mid-December last year (AFP)
In a statement issued on Saturday, the German embassy said that the donation would go directly to support relief operations by the World Food Program (WFP), which had been facing a funds shortage.
Humanitarian provisions at camps in Ethiopia’s Gambella region, where large numbers of South Sudanese refugees are currently sheltered, remains poor, with the response from the international donors lagging far behind actual needs.
The embassy said the funds will help ease food insecurity and reduce malnutrition rates, particularly among South Sudanese refugees, who continue to arrive in Ethiopia in large numbers already hungry, severely malnourished and in overall poor health.
According to the embassy, diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Germany date back 50 years, with a strong partnership existing between both countries in both development cooperation and humanitarian operations.
The funds will also ease the burden on relief organisations who are struggling to cope with the ever growing numbers of refugees arriving from neighbouring countries.
On average 1,000 South Sudanese refugees cross into Ethiopia each day, fleeing violence and food shortages.
Earlier this week, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) announced that Ethiopia had overtaken Kenya to become Africa’s largest refugee-hosting nation, mainly due to the large influx of South Sudanese.
Ethiopia is currently home to over 600,000 refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, Eritrea and Sudan.
Since the conflict in South Sudan erupted in December last year nearly 190,000 South Sudanese, mostly woman and children, have fled to Ethiopia, swelling the total South Sudanese population in Ethiopia to 247,000.