JUBA – The World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing food to South Sudanese civilians who have fled recent violence. Food distributions began on Sunday for some 30,000 civilians sheltering in UNMISS peacekeeping compounds in Juba and Bentiu, and WFP plans in the coming days to assist more people who are displaced in other parts of the country.
WFP and its partners are doing their utmost in extremely challenging circumstances to see that food reaches those in need. At the same time, given that escalating conflict in some places has endangered the lives of humanitarian workers, the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) has helped 80 humanitarian organizations bring their staff to safety –so those aid workers can, in many cases, continue their efforts to provide humanitarian relief to those affected by the conflict.
“WFP has been working hard both to provide food assistance for South Sudanese civilians affected by this crisis, and to support humanitarian workers in need of relocation,” said WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi. “We call on all parties to protect the lives of innocent civilians and to respect the neutrality of humanitarian workers as they try to assist those in need.”
Some details of WFP’s response so far are:
• Distribution of WFP food began Sunday for 20,000 internally displaced people sheltering at two UNMISS bases in Juba and for another 7,000 people who have sought shelter at the UNMISS base in Bentiu.
• Working with NGO partners and the peacekeepers, WFP is providing seven-day rations of a fortified high-protein blend of soy and maize known as Super Cereal Plus, which can be cooked into a nutritious porridge along with sugar, which is also provided by WFP. This specialized food is designed to meet the nutritional needs of young children, who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition. WFP has so far provided 11.8 metric tons of Super Cereal Plus and 874 kilograms of sugar.
• WFP is being assisted by ACTED, OXFAM, Save the Children, Concern Worldwide, Mercy Corps and Joint Aid Management. Preparations are underway to start assistance in the other locations in Juba as soon as possible.
• WFP has provided food assistance, through the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission to 7,500 displaced people in Mingkam (Lakes State) and 3,500 people in Mabior (Jonglei State), and is evaluating what assistance can and should be provided in other areas where large numbers of people have had to flee their homes.
• Outside of South Sudan, WFP’s operations in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are preparing, along with humanitarian partners and government agencies, to assist refugees who may flee across the borders if fighting escalates.
• UNHAS, which is managed by WFP, resumed flights in South Sudan on 19 December after Juba airport reopened. Between the 19th and the 23rd, UNHAS relocated 491 aid workers from 19 locations, including Bor, Pibor, Malakal, Akobo, Alek, Agok, Rumbek and Yida. The relocations, most of which were to Juba, involved South Sudanese and international staff members from 80 humanitarian organizations.
• In order to address the immediate needs for security relocations, UNHAS reinforced its fleet by adding another Dash 8 passenger aircraft for one week. There are currently 10 fixed-wing UNHAS aircraft and seven helicopters in use throughout the country.
• UNHAS is continuing its regular flight schedule to the extent possible, while also addressing ad-hoc requests to respond the needs of humanitarian community operating in South Sudan. Security relocations and medical evacuations of humanitarian staff are treated as priority. UNHAS is working in close collaboration with the Logistics Cluster to track and address requests for relocations of humanitarian personnel.
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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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For more information please contact (email address: email@example.com):
George Fominyen, WFP/Juba, Mob. +211.922.465.247
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254.20.762.2179, Mob. +254.707.722.104
Peter Smerdon, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 2150, Mobile +39 342 878 4107
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001, Mob. +44 7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1 646 556.6909, Mob. +1 646 824.1112