After receiving pulses and cereals by airdrop and tins of vegetable oil and corn-soya blend for children by helicopter, an emergency WFP team alongside local partners and workers set up a distribution point about two km from the centre of Koch town.
A total of 21,000 people have registered to receive rations. Even before the conflict, Koch was considered one of the most food insecure areas of the country and is now currently at emergency levels under the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system. The situation has been exacerbated by disrupted markets, fighting and roads closed due to seasonal rains.
Standing in line is Peter Mamouk, a visibly emaciated elderly man with only one eye who is among the 21,000 people who have registered for food. When the fighting began, the farmer was separated from his wife and nine children, who are now in a camp for internally displaced people in Bentiu, a city which has seen some of the biggest battles in South Sudan. Peter fled for his life, leaving his home and possessions behind, and has been unable to grow any crops.
According to UNFPA, an estimated 200,000 pregnant women will need of urgent care before the end of this year. Even before the conflict, South Sudan had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. As part of the emergency distributions all breast-feeding women and infants are receiving supplementary feeding.
As part of WFP’s emergency operation in South Sudan, children are being targeted under a blanket supplementary feeding programme. An estimated 235,000 children under the age of five will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) this year; twice as many as last year. So far, due to the challenging conditions, the humanitarian community has only been able to reach about 10 per cent of these children with the treatment they need.
The June Inter-agency assessment also found markets had also been severely disrupted by local fighting. Even in a normal year, household food stocks from the previous season would have been low. The markets were empty of major commodities and supplies and what was available was extremely expensive — maize was selling for nearly US$3 a kilo and soap was costing US$10 a bar.
WFP and partners in South Sudan have so far managed to reach more than 1.1 million people affected by the conflict, overcoming enormous challenges to reach people in very difficult circumstances. The agency currently has a funding shortfall of US$475 million.
27 March 2015 South Sudan Faces Hunger With Little Hope For Peace
22 December 2014 WFP Fights Malnutrition With Airdrops In South Sudan