The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced a move to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance worth $91 million to 12 African countries.

The fund is aimed at addressing urgent humanitarian needs – including food assistance, health care, water, and psychosocial support – caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in the countries.

Burkina Faso, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya are some of the countries that have been listed to benefit from this humanitarian response.

Others are Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Burkina Faso will receive $7.5 million to provide vital food support, protection for children and survivors of gender-based violence by expanding access to basic services, and logistics support to ensure humanitarian assistance and workers reach communities affected by conflict and the pandemic.

The agency also noted that Burundi, Rwanda, and Tanzania will receive $7.5 million to provide food assistance for refugees, people who have returned to their communities, and other vulnerable community members.

Similarly, Chad, Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe will each receive nine million dollars, $4.7 million, $4.4 million, $5.5 million, $14.7 million, $30 million, three million dollars, and $4.6 million respectively.

‘As communities endure and recover from the pandemic’s impacts, USAID will continue to provide life-saving assistance to meet urgent needs, as well as make investments to prepare for future outbreaks in humanitarian settings’, Executive Director of USAID’s Covid-19 Task Force, Jeremy Konyndyk, said in a statement.

With South Sudan getting the largest allocation, $30 million, it will help provide critical primary health care, health education, and training for health workers, according to the agency.

The allocation is expected to also provide support for critical logistics, shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies, among other assistance, for the world’s youngest nation.

Since gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has faced one of the worst humanitarian crisis which has now worsened with the emergence of the pandemic.

According to the United Nations, 8.5 million people, including refugees, in South Sudan have been identified to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

This indicates an 800,000-person increase from the 7.5 million reported for 2020.

‘South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since independence ten years ago’, Spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Jens Laerke, said.

‘Violence and localised conflict in many parts of the country also drive up humanitarian needs and the impact again of Covid-19 on markets, services, and people’s ability to move around has increased their vulnerability’.

Source: USAID

Photo source: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

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