The United States through its Agency for International Development (USAID) last week donated USD 4.5 million to help tens of thousands of people in South Sudan at risk of contracting COVID-19.

The funds, contributed by USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, come as confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in South Sudan are increasing daily.

South Sudan has so far recorded 1,916 coronavirus cases.

In a statement seen by Radio Tamazuj on Friday, the Head of the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team said these new funds will be used to provide soap, hygiene kits, household water treatment solutions, and water buckets for local communities including the displaced.

“This funding will allow frontline workers to continue combating COVID-19 in the places at greatest risk of infection,” said Tina Yu. “As a key player in the COVID-19 response, we support IOM’s continued efforts to protect vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic across South Sudan.”

For his part, the Chief of Mission for IOM says the country’s fragile health system would not be able to cope with a continuous upsurge of coronavirus cases.

“Putting in place measures to help curb the spread of the virus is extremely important as the country’s frail health system would not be able to cope with a continuous upsurge of cases. This support is a clear demonstration that only through collective efforts can we fight this pandemic that knows no borders,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

He added, “Today the American people have demonstrated that they stand together with the people of South Sudan in the fight against COVID-19.”

IOM says it continues to work with the authorities in South Sudan to support the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, particularly in the areas of infection prevention and control, and water and sanitation, in light of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on access to clean water and sanitation for all.