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WFP Assists South Sudanese Refugees in Kenya

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid-December last year, Kakuma has received about 13,000 refugees. An average of 300 refugees daily, mostly women and children, are being received at the camp. WFP is providing food assistance to the refugees at the border upon arrival and also at the refugee camp.

Akon Goch sought refuge in Kakuma when conflict broke out in South Sudan. (Copyright:WFP/Rose Ogola)

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid-December last year, Kakuma has received about 13,000 refugees. An average of 300 refugees daily, mostly women and children, are being received at the camp. WFP is providing food assistance to the refugees at the border upon arrival and also at the refugee camp.

Akon Goch nurses her baby with a faraway look on her face. Together with her six children and two nephews, she has travelled over 500 kilometres from Bor town in Jonglei State of South Sudan to the Kenyan border to escape conflict in her country.

“There had been gunshots in our village for two days and we had locked ourselves in the house. During this time, we had not seen my husband, who is a government soldier. On the third day, he came to the house and took his gun and left. He did not say where he was going but I knew that he must have gone to join the fighting,” says Akon.

When her husband did not return after three days, Akon, the children and her brother-in-law, decided to go and hide in the forest, where many other people had taken shelter. “We did not have enough money to leave the country, yet there was the sound of guns everywhere and we were so afraid that we would get killed.”

In the forest, Akon and her family had very little food to eat and had to rely on the little food they had hurriedly packed when they left and also on gathering edible plants from the forest. Finally, her family sent the money to pay for their transport to safety. They travelled to Juba and then on to Kakuma in north-western Kenya.

“It took us five days to travel from Bor to the border post at Nadapal,” says Akon. “We had to save money for transport and so we bought very little food on the way. We mainly ate small amounts of sweet potatoes and cassava and the children were very hungry by the time we arrived.”  As she speaks, her eldest daughter distributes food bars from WFP to the rest of the children.

WFP is distributing high energy BP5 bars to the refugees on arrival at Nadapal. Once they get to reception centres at Kakuma refugee camp, the refugees get cooked meals. Children between the age of 6 and 23 months get a highly fortified porridge made from Super Cereal plus. WFP provides the food to its partner Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which manages the reception centres and cooks for the refugees.

The reception centres are crowded so newly arrived refugees are relocated to a temporary site and WFP provides them with food while they wait to be registered. UNHCR is providing them with kitchen utensils so they can cook for themselves.

Since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in mid-December last year, Kakuma has received about 13,000 refugees. An average of 300 refugees daily, mostly women and children, are being received at the camp.