South Sudan: WFP Assists Growing Number Of Refugees In Yida
Published on 7 May 2012

Jilil waits in line for WFP and other assistance. Copyright: WFP/Lydia Wamala

Mother of seven Jilil Tika is one of hundreds of refugees that arrive in Yida refugee camp daily, fleeing Sudan's Nuba Mountains. Food is what her family needed most, and WFP provided it. WFP is assisting all refugees arriving in the camp.

Tika arrived in Yida alongside her children and her neighbours. The group arrived in the in the night and had to sleep under a tree until the reception centre opened in the morning. She is one of a growing number of refugees arriving in Yida, at a rate of about 700 per day. As she sat in the line at the reception centre she said,  "We left Sudan because of armed conflict and a lack of food. My brother was shot dead in the violence. What we need the most now is food."

And she received it. Every newly arriving refugee in Yida is immediately given a 15-day emergency ration of cereals, pulses, vegetable oil and salt. New arrivals also get ready-to-eat fortified food bars, which provide instant nutrition. This food is designed to support the refugees until the next regular monthly distribution for registered refugees. WFP gives full monthly food rations to all of the registered refugees. WFP reached an estimated 24,600 refugees in Yida in April alone, and continues to assist more daily.

Another new arrival, Tajir Banda Kaki, said his family experienced hunger and a lack of water in the Nuba Mountains. He said the family's food stocks ran out and yet they could not plant anything. That was because they had to hide in the mountains, taking shelter from the bombings.

Many refugees are weak and malnourished when they arrive in Yida, so WFP provides specialized foods to treat and prevent malnutrition in children, pregnant women and new mothers, who are most vulnerable to undernutrition. For children who are diagnosed as moderately malnourished, WFP uses fortified nutritious foods to help them regain health.  

"We are seeing more and more refugees arriving in Yida," said WFP South Sudan Country Director, Chris Nikoi. "We are building more food storage shelters and stock-piling food to ensure that every refugee household in Yida has enough food over the rainy season”.

Nikoi said the rainy season usually renders about 60 percent of roads in South Sudan impassable.

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About the author

Lydia Wamala

Public Information Officer

Lydia Wamala has been working for WFP since 2004. She handles both Communications and Reporting for the Uganda office based in Kampala.