Norway gives emergency aid to South Sudan

Norway has pledged $63 million in emergency aid to those likely to be hit by a deepening civil war in South Sudan, the country's foreign minister said on Monday

Norway gives emergency aid to South Sudan
South Sudan's Presindent Salva Kiir meets Norwegian Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim in 2009. Photo: Stein Ove Korneliussen

"The crisis is expected to escalate significantly in the months ahead. The Norwegian Government is therefore allocating a further $63 million to humanitarian efforts in South Sudan," Børge Brende said on the eve of a conference for international donors to the country in Oslo. 
The Nordic country has been one of the largest sponsors of the South Sudan, which became the world's youngest  country when it gained its independence from the north in 2011. 
Fighting broke out in the country last September, three months after Riek Machar, one of the leading figures of the Nuer people, was sacked as deputy President by President Salva Kiir, a senior figure in the Dinka people. 
The United Nations has warned of a widespread famine in South Sudan if fighting between the government and rebel groups does not stop. It says 3.7 million people — more than a third of the population — are at risk of starvation in the world's youngest nation, where has thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.2 million forced to leave their homes.
The UN says it needs $1.8 billion to fund humanitarian aid through to the end of March 2015, and only $536 million has been secured so far.
"If the conflict continues, half of South Sudan's 12 million people will either be displaced internally, refugees abroad, starving or dead by the year's end," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last week.
Norway, which sent $17 million to South Sudan at the beginning of the year, will on Tuesday host a conference to try to raise funds and find ways to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance there. The event will be co-chaired by Brende and UN humanitarian chief Valerie
"Tens of thousands of people have already died in South Sudan even if they still haven't taken their last breath," said Liv Tørres, head of the non-governmental organisation Norwegian People's Aid. "It's a terrible thing to say, but that does not make it any less true. For many it's already too late. There isn't enough food produced and stored away
before the rainy season begins."


Here's an interview with Riek Machar about the impending conflict in December last year. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.