The United Nations World Food Programme today provided a 15-day emergency food ration to displaced persons who have been affected by the attacks in South Sudan’s Jonglei state.
WFP says it will scale up its assistance to reach 80,000 people affected by the recent escalation of ethnic violence in the region.
WFP states that one of its priorities is distributing food before the rain starts in March as 90 per cent of locations targeted for assistance will become inaccessible by road.
The agency also emphasized the need to help affected households cultivate their own crops in time for the next harvest in August.
“The violence in Jonglei is only one of the many challenges that South Sudan is currently facing, and the world must respond to ensure that the people of this new nation have the support they need to build a peaceful and prosperous country.” -said Deputy Executive Director for the World Food Programme (WFP), Ramiro Lopes da Silva
On his visit to the region, Mr. da Silva said many of the women he met in Pibor and Akobo had lost their children and had no one to depend on but the humanitarian agencies on the ground.
Earlier in the month of December 2011, an outbreak of inter-ethnic violence has left more than 40 people dead, most of them women, children and the elderly. The violence has caused an estimated tens of thousands people to flee their homes in Pibor County and resulting in casualties, destruction of property and livelihoods.
The agency’s assistance includes using its logistics expertise to help other humanitarian agencies overcome challenges to establish a way for people to access their services.
WFP reports that the agency has already deployed three helicopters, an airplane and 28 trucks to deliver not just food but also shelter items and medical supplies to remote corners of Jonglei.
Ten locations in Jonglei have already been reached by WFP. Five of these are located in Pibor county, including Pibor town and surrounding villages, Lekuangole, Gumruk, Labrab and Boma. Five more are located in recently affected areas in the northern parts of the state.
Nearly 33,000 Sudanese refugees have gone to neighbouring Ethiopia since June 2011, most of them having the fled conflict in Blue Nile. They include more than 18,000 people hosted in two camps and a transit centre, and an estimated 14,000 living among the host community in border areas.
The World Food Programme is the food aid branch of the United Nations. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger worldwide. WFP provides food, on average, to 90 million people per year, 58 million of whom are children.