Fighting erupted in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, on 15 December 2013, and within days had spread to other parts of the country, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. A month after it began, the number of people displaced has risen to more than 400,000.
Many of those who fled their homes sought refuge and protection at UN peacekeeping bases, where WFP has been providing food assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs). These women, carrying boxes of specialised nutritious food, are returning from a food distribution site at a UN base in Juba.
WFP staff in Malakal distribute food assistance to thousands of people sheltering at the UN Peacekeeping base. WFP has provided food assistance to internally displaced people in UN Peacekeeping compounds in Juba, Bentiu, Bor and Malakal.
These women are among hundreds of displaced people who have received food assistance from WFP at a transit site in Aweng, in Twic County of Warrap State. They reached this site after walking for several days to escape fighting in neighbouring Unity State.
The unrest has disrupted supplies to local markets in many parts of the country and forced people to flee their homes, during what in some areas is still the harvest season. Loss of harvests could threaten their food security later in the year, even if the conflict subsides.
WFP has launched a new emergency operation aiming to provide assistance to up to 400,000 people affected by the conflict. The assistance includes specialised nutritional support for new mothers and young children, whose health is most at risk from a disruption in their food supply.
A helicopter from the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service departs after airlifting fortified biscuits from Juba to Leer in Unity State to assist incoming IDPs. With conflict and insecurity, combined with a poor road network, some communities in need of humanitarian assistance will be reachable only by air.
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