WFP has rapidly scaled up food assistance to more than 80,000 people forced from their homes and farms by an outburst of fighting between rival groups in the South Sudan state of Jonglei.
“The violence in Jonglei is only one of the many challenges that South Sudan is currently facing,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director Ramiro Lopes da Silva during a visit to the region.
“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.”
Violence across Jonglei State earlier this month forced tens of thousands of people – mostly women and children – to seek refuge in the bush where they had little or no access to food or clean drinking water.
“Many of the women I met in Pibor and Akobo had lost their children and had no one to depend on but the humanitarian agencies on the ground,” said Lopes da Silva.
Reaching people in such an inaccessible part of the world requires extensive logistical muscle. WFP has deployed three helicopters, an aeroplane and 28 trucks to deliver food as well as tents, medical supplies and other basic necessities on behalf of the entire humanitarian community.
Time of the essence
WFP is shipping in large quantities of food by truck before the rains begin in March, when up to 90 percent of the area will be cut off by road.
Many of the families forced to flee are now returning to find their homes and farms destroyed, and will need help over the coming weeks and months in order to rebuild.
Moreover, with four months to go before the next harvest it's important that farmers in Jonglei State be able to return to their fields. WFP is working with local partners on activities to help ensure that families who live on what they grow will have a crop to harvest this August.