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South Sudan: Plan workers describe the devastation

Plan South Sudan Pibor staff member visitis a ruined homestead at Likuangole.
Plan South Sudan Pibor staff member visitis a ruined homestead at Likuangole.
February 1, 2012

Aid workers belonging to Plan International are telling of “scenes of devastation” in Jonglei – as villages are burned to the ground and 170,000 are left homeless in the conflict-hit region of South Sudan.

Plan has distributed emergency food supplies to more than 50,000 people who have fled clashes between rival tribes in Jonglei state.

“The situation on the ground is grim - people left their homes with nothing and have been in the bush for several weeks," said Plan’s Country Director in South Sudan, Fikru Abebe.

“Amid the chaos, some children have been abandoned and have been found wandering alone and crying. People haven’t had food, they haven’t had access to clean water and some are wounded and have no shelter.”

Plan is one of the first international organizations to respond to the crisis, distributing cereals, beans and other food items to the homeless - mostly women and children. The organization is preparing to deliver water and hygiene kits as well as fishing tools to 5000 households and seeds to 1000 households.

“We are launching an appeal for more than £700,000 (more than $1 million) to get more aid to people caught up in the fighting,” said Mr Abebe.

“We need to take action now as the number of displaced people is growing every day and the conflict is expected to continue, even more so escalated as a result of anticipated revenge attack. More South Sudanese who had settled in the North are likely to return in the coming months – and this could exacerbate the existing conflicts.”

Plan is trying to reach as many at-risk people as possible, especially children.

“In addition to the physical needs like water and food, providing emotional first aid for young people is a key requirement,” explained Mr Abebe.

“We are also implementing programmes to keep children safe and help them continue their education during this time of upheaval.”

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

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