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    Monday, March 31, 2014

    UK donates $13.7m to S'Sudan

    The UK has released 13.7 million dollars to the FAO to help affected families in South Sudan to restore their agriculture-based livelihoods and stave off hunger.

    Sue Lautze, Head FAO’s team in South Sudan, said the emergency funding was coming at a critical time because over seven million people were facing the risk of hunger.

    He said FAO had appealed for 77 million dollars to assist more than 2.3 million people with immediate support designed to help them plant rapidly.

    Lautze said of the seven million people considered being at risk of food insecurity, over 3.7 million people were estimated to be facing acute or emergency levels of food insecurity in February.

    He said as a result of this, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations had called for 1.27 billion dollars to meet urgent humanitarian needs in the first half of 2014.

    Lautze said FAO has mobilised more than six million dollars to date and is in discussion with a variety of donors for another 25 million dollars, because the available funding falls far short of what is needed.

    He said the grant would ensure that FAO was able to reach households in time so that they can get seeds in the ground during the current planting season.

    “We are working under intense deadlines, we have an extremely tight window in which to deliver seeds and other vitally-needed inputs to farmers.

    “It’s already starting to rain in some areas, once the rain comes, it is too late to plant and vast areas become inaccessible.”

    He said the FAO was also putting together different emergency livelihood kits in the range of 30 dollars each to provide six months of staple crops for one family.

    Lautze said FAO was working on allowing farmers to gain access to quality seeds, tools, training and other supports needed to ensure reasonable production in 2014.

    “This is important for ensuring food availability later this year, particularly the country’s current cereal production deficit of 400,000 tonnes,’’ he said.

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