The United States said Tuesday it is releasing an additional $80 million to help people affected by the conflict in South Sudan, including those who have fled to neighboring countries to escape 20 months of violence.
The latest contribution brings U.S. assistance for South Sudan to more than $1.3 billion dollars since the young nation plunged into conflict in December 2013.
The additional funding will allow aid groups to address the urgent health and nutritional needs of internally displaced persons, refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan, and South Sudanese who are now refugees in neighboring countries, the State Department said in a statement.
The aid money will also be used to provide services for survivors of gender-based violence and malnourished children, the statement said.
More than 1.6 million people are internally displaced in South Sudan, 4.6 million are severely food insecure, and nearly 630,000 are living as refugees in neighboring countries, according to the most recent report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The United States warned that aid is only effective if it reaches people in need, and called on President Salva Kiir’s government and former vice president Riek Machar’s armed opposition movement to allow humanitarian workers full and unconditional access to vulnerable people in all areas of South Sudan.