Christian Aid is calling on the UK Government to show leadership ahead of COP26 and reverse its 59% cut in aid to South Sudan in the Autumn Spending Review following reports that the country is facing the worst flooding in nearly 60 years, caused by the climate crisis, which is pushing vulnerable communities to the brink of famine.
James Wani, Christian Aid's Country Director in South Sudan, described the scale of the flooding as "unprecedented" and warned "when the water does finally recede, people will return to nothing."
According to the UN ,  more than 700,000 people have been affected by unrelenting floods from weeks of heavy rain. Homes have been swept away, farmlands devastated, and families and livestock have been forced to seek safety.
Christian Aid, together with local partners, is providing emergency life-saving support including blankets, mosquito nets, water purification tablets and cash to flood affected families in addition to seeds, tools and fishing kits to families facing a food crisis.
However, Christian Aid's peacebuilding work in South Sudan was terminated in July because of UK aid cuts while the Climate Finance Delivery Plan published this week has weakened the commitment of richer countries to help the poorest in the world tackle the climate crisis.
The flooding hit an already devastated region. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC)  estimates 2.4 million people are at risk of falling into famine with famine already thought to be in areas of western Pibor.
James Wani, Christian Aid's Country Director in South Sudan, said: "The scale of the flooding is unprecedented and is overwhelming areas along the river Nile. The flooding destroys everything. People have lost their crops and their livestock. When the water does finally recede, people will return to nothing.
"South Sudan has experienced flooding for three years in a row, but the intensity keeps increasing. We are only going to see the hunger crisis escalate over the next few months."
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Christian Aid's Chief Executive, added: " Conflict, hunger, and pandemic. That is the daily struggle for far too many in South Sudan, but now the desperate situation has worsened still with climate caused floods sweeping away homes and forcing families to flee.
" When the Government slashed the aid budget to South Sudan, Christian Aid warned there would be a devastating impact on the most vulnerable. The chilling impact of these cuts is now being felt more than ever at this time of need.
" The Chancellor has time and again missed opportunities to do the right thing at the right time. If the UK wants to be a global leader, it must stand up and be counted by helping those at greatest risk of being left behind.
"With richer countries going back on their commitment to help poor er countries like South Sudan tackle the climate crisis with climate finance, the UK Government must show leadership ahead of COP26 and use the spending review to reverse aid cuts to South Sudan."
Notes to editors:
Climate finance:\ The flooding in South Sudan has been caused by the climate crisis. Despite the need for increased climate finance to help countries like South Sudan tackle climate change and adapt to its impacts, the Climate Finance Delivery Plan [published 25 October 2021] announced ahead of COP26 claims it will take until 2023 for richer countries to meet their commitment of $100 billion each year to support poorer countries to tackle the climate crisis.
Fionna Smyth, Head of Global Policy and Advocacy for Christian Aid, said:\ "This lack of ambition is breathtaking. It is the people living on the frontline of the climate emergency who will bear the brunt.
"It is over a decade since the world's richer countries agreed to $100bn a year in climate finance by 2020. It was already a drop in the ocean, yet still the target has been missed and is now set to be watered down.
"With days until COP26, richer countries must take responsibility for their contribution to the climate crisis and set their sights higher if COP26 will be judged a success.
"A minimum of $500 billion over 2020-24 must be collected, with at least half to support communities' adaptation to the climate crisis. This cannot be a case of `jam tomorrow'. The money needs to start flowing now.
"A failure to deliver on climate finance not only puts the whole COP26 climate talks in jeopardy but risks leaving hundreds of millions of people unprotected from the climate crisis and plunging millions more into poverty."
Overseas aid cuts:\ In April 2021, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) announced funding allocations. It is estimated total ODA will be £10.9 billion in 2021, a £4 billion cut from £14.5 billion a year before. For the first time since 2013, the UK will not meet the UN target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA).
As a result, in July 2021, crucial church-led peacebuilding work in South Sudan was terminated.
Christian Aid's peacebuilding work, which cost £800,000 per year over the past three years, made it possible for the South Sudan Council of Churches to support local reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts in conflict hotspots, engage political leaders of the country in support of the implementation of the recently signed peace agreement, engage in shuttle diplomacy within the region and internationally, and carry out anti-hate speech campaigning as well as countering fake news and misinformation of Covid-19 and vaccines.
Christian Aid partners in South Sudan:\ Christian Aid, together with its local partner African Aid Development (ADA), is providing emergency life-saving support including blankets, mosquito nets, water purification tablets and cash to flood affected families in Fangak County in Jonglei state.
Working with UNIDOR, Christian Aid is also using recently-awarded Scottish Government funding to provide farming seeds, tools and fishing kits to families in Unity State facing a food crisis because of the impact of flooding on their harvests.
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