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South Sudan: Plan scales up critical aid as violence continues

Trucks loaded with food relief supplies arrive in Pibor, South Sudan.
Trucks loaded with food relief supplies arrive in Pibor, South Sudan.
January 20, 2012

Plan is scaling up its relief food distribution in Pibor County - South Sudan as tribal violence continues to rage in the strife-torn region. The additional food supplies, secured from the World Food Programme, will now reach some 14,000 people over the next three months.

Plan has an ongoing program in Pibor and Akobo in Jonglei state where it is responding to emergency food needs of 4,500 children through school feeding programs. This includes children affected by the inter-communal violence.

The latest round of fighting that broke out in late December between Lou Nuer and Murle communities - two of Jonglei state’s largest ethnic groups - has made the humanitarian situation worse. According to the UN, in 2011, more than 1,100 people lost their lives, and some 63,000 people were displaced by inter-communal violence in the state.

There are fears that violence may worsen as Lou Nuer and Murle tribes prepare for revenge attacks which could lead to a protracted conflict. Reports have also emerged from the area suggesting a rise in abduction of children by warring tribes.

"The capacities of the aid agencies were already stretched before the fresh clashes. Children are particularly vulnerable in the escalating situation and their needs must be met as a priority,” said Fikru Abebe, Country Director of Plan in South Sudan.

Plan’s response team in South Sudan will roll-out a comprehensive aid response which will address issues like emotional support for people and child protection in emergencies. Plan has also deployed specialist capacities to support its relief operation.

In Pibor alone, more than 32,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Insecurity issues and accessibility of many areas only by air is making transportation of food relief from Juba a very big challenge and an expensive operation for aid agencies.

"We are committed to continue expanding our relief to reach affected children as long as security prevails in Pibor and if UN agencies continue to fulfil their commitment to transport food from Juba to Pibor and Akobo," said Mr Abebe.

"We support the development of a long-term strategy to guarantee safety of children and the affected community."

More information about Plan’s work in South Sudan can be found here.

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