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Plan partners with WFP to feed displaced S Sudanese

11 February 2014, 17:03 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - Plan International (Plan) has partnered with World Food Programme (WFP) to supply food to suffering thousands of internally displaced citizens of conflict-bound South Sudan.

Plan South Sudan Country Director, Gyan Adhikari said that the two organizations have partnered to ensure that the affected innocent civilians do not suffer starvation until the nation’s situation comes back to normal after successful negotiations.

“The children’s charity has so far distributed assorted food commodities including sorghum, beans, oil and salt to more than 28,000 beneficiaries as of February 3 of which 13 221 are children, out of the targeted 35 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) who sought refuge in Nimule, a small town in Eastern Equatoria State in South Sudan,” said Adhikari.

“Plan’s immediate concerns focus on urgent humanitarian needs: displaced people are currently living in ‘dire conditions’ in some areas. The main needs are: food (including nutrition), water, NFIs/shelter, medical assistance and child protection,” he added.

Adhikari stated that affected civilians who were reached by the food aid expressed their gratitude including Tabitha, 16, who fled her Bor County residence in Central South Sudan to Nimule for refuge at an old school.

Upon receiving the food supply, Adhikari noted that Tabitha narrated how her family has relied on the host community’s support of basic needs such as food, sleeping mats, water and cooking utensils since their arrival at Nimule.

“We are happy for this food because my mother will not have to go beg from the host community,” said Tabitha.

Another victim of the conflict, 28-year-old Rachael who escaped to refugee camp, said, “We had to scramble for the boat because everyone wanted to get in. I managed with all my four children; we had no food, water or footwear. The child of one of the women I was travelling with got very weak and died upon arrival to Nimule.”

Adhikari also said the organization is supporting the under-five year old children who are malnourished through targeted supplementary feeding programme in Awerial, Lakes State.

“The situation of the children at IDP camps is beyond imagination as these innocent children go to bed hungry. There is a huge challenge of getting safe drinking water, health facilities and space to play. Plan has tried its best to address the problems but there is need for more resources,” he stated.

He further said that Plan is concerned and involved in providing social services such as water and sanitation, education in emergencies and livelihoods.

It is reported that despite a ceasefire agreement entered into by warring parties, reports of clashes in some parts of the country continue to pose a threat to the safe return of IDPs.

Plan South Sudan Emergency Relief Coordinator, Hailit Ghebrehiwet, said, “Children and their families who arrived in Nimule a month ago did not have anything to eat. This is the first food distribution we are conducting. The situation is really bad, people are in need.”

Ghebrehiwet stated that Nimule camp, currently hosting over 35 000 IDPs, is located near Uganda border adding that refugees at the station experience serious challenges of accessing food, water and other basic needs.

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