Date Published: 28 March 2014
Humanitarian aid supplies reach remote areas of South Sudan
UNICEF and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) are cooperating in a joint response to deliver food, vaccines, nutrition supplements and other vital supplies to an isolated area of conflict-affected South Sudan. Akobo, in Jonglei State, near the border with Ethiopia, is one of the most isolated parts of South Sudan and home to around 30,000 people.
UNICEF and the WFP have been using helicopters and air drops to get the supplies to this area in which it is urgently needed. The agencies have also set up emergency distribution points for food, health, protection, education and sanitation.
" Children and families in South Sudan are now facing unprecedented suffering - with worrying signs of malnutrition and disease outbreaks," said UNICEF's Representative in South Sudan, Jonathan Veitch.
" With the rainy season looming we have to seize every opportunity to rapidly deploy teams and life-saving supplies to the hardest to reach. This is how we will avert a humanitarian catastrophe."
Earlier this month WFP began a series of urgent airdrops of food assistance to remote areas of South Sudan that have previously been unreachable for some time due to insecurity and other obstacles.
" The conflict in South Sudan is pushing millions of people further into hunger and complicating efforts to provide relief, and we are enormously concerned that things could get worse," said WFP Country Director Chris Nikoi. "We have to act quickly to avert an even worse crisis as the rainy season approaches. The mobile response teams are a swift and flexible approach we have been using to reach as many people as we can with assistance in a tremendously challenging environment."
Supported by airdrops and airlifts (where supplies are flown in and unloaded on the ground) mobile response teams have provided food assistance to displaced and conflict-affected people in five locations over the past several weeks. Essential food and specialized nutrition products for children will now be provided in addition to the distribution of water and sanitation kits to families and ready-to-use therapeutic food for malnourished children. UNICEF will also immunize children against polio and measles, distribute recreational activities, set up emergency education, and register and support unaccompanied children.
After almost 100 days since the conflict erupted, limited humanitarian access and rains threaten aid efforts and have made children more vulnerable to disease and malnutrition than ever. The violence in South Sudan has disrupted livelihoods. Families and livestock have been displaced, households looted and markets destroyed. Aid supplies have been interrupted, contributing to the problem of more than 3.7 million people being at risk of severe food insecurity as well as disease outbreaks and acute malnutrition. About 700,000 people are displaced within South Sudan, including 379,000 children.