NAIROBI -- WFP is deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis that has developed in Jonglei State, where thousands of people, among them vulnerable women and children, have been forced to seek refuge in forest and swamp where they have little or no access to food and clean drinking water.
Violence between rival groups has led to an unknown number of deaths and the destruction of buildings and property in a number of settlements, including Likuangole and Pibor.
Working with the United Nations Mission in Southern Sudan (UNMISS), the South Sudan authorities and humanitarian partners, WFP is seeking to bring assistance to the civilians affected by the violence.
On New Year’s Eve, WFP’s air arm, the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), delivered enough emergency rations to Pibor to feed more than 1,000 people for two weeks. On 3 January, a mission led by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Lise Grande, saw the delivery of rations to 45 unaccompanied children from the town.
“Reaching out to this vulnerable group of children is an important step”, said Ms. Grande after the visit. “But it’s only the start. An emergency operation is going to be needed in the weeks ahead to help people uprooted by the violence.”
Before New Year, WFP had started pre-positioning food in the town of Boma, which lies 5 – 7 days' walk south-east of Pibor towards the border with Ethiopia. There is now enough food there to feed more than 40,000 people for two weeks.
By the early days of January, hundreds of displaced people had reached Boma and more were arriving each day.
WFP has boosted capacity in Boma and plans are already underway to provide immediate assistance to 2,000 IDPs.
Lack of security and difficulty of access are the main challenges facing those working in this part of South Sudan. WFP, leveraging its logistics expertise, continues to assist the humanitarian community to move life-saving cargo by air to the remotest parts of the area, while also taking advantage of the dry season to bring in supplies by road.