JUBA – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an operation including the use of helicopters to bring urgently-needed food assistance to tens of thousands of people who have fled to hard-to-reach areas to escape violence in Pibor County, in the Republic of South Sudan’s Jonglei State.
Clashes between government forces and insurgents as well as renewed violence between the Lou Nuer and Murle communities have forced thousands of families to seek refuge in locations that are currently inaccessible due to a combination of insecurity and roads made impassable by heavy rains.
“We believe these people need food now and cannot wait for much longer after hiding in the bush for weeks,” said Chris Nikoi, WFP South Sudan Country Director. “We are sparing no effort to provide lifesaving assistance, but we need more food supplies in the country and more helicopters to take this food to those who most need it,” he added.
While WFP is already providing food assistance to some of the displaced in areas it can reach, the agency urgently needs additional funds to buy more food and to hire helicopters required to transport the much-needed supplies to the civilians trapped by the ongoing violence. The agency is requesting close to US$20 million in funding for emergency assistance for 60,000 people, through to December.
In areas of Pibor County where the humanitarian community has gained access WFP is providing food assistance through distributions this week in Dorein, Labdab and Pibor town. The agency had also provided assistance to more than 4,700 people, most of them women and children, who came from villages and the bush to receive assistance in Pibor Town in early July.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.
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