Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Worsening food crisis in South Sudan’s swamplands

IRIN:  In the vast swamplands of South Sudan’s Sudd region, tens of thousands of recently displaced people (IDPs) are living with little food and no sanitation facilities on inaccessible islands, according to local officials. They fled after attackers, allegedly from Rumbek (Lakes State in central South Sudan), swarmed across the county burning houses and raiding cattle on 7 February.

Flying over the county headquarters of Panyjiar in southern Unity State, at least half of the houses appear to have been burned to the ground. The IDPs on the islands need food, but for now there is no way to reach them. “If you don’t have a canoe, you can’t go there,” said Simon Kuol, coordinator of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of Panyjiar County.

On 27 February, the UN’s top humanitarian official, Valerie Amos, expressed deep concern over “the grave humanitarian situation in South Sudan, where, despite the recent ceasefire agreement, the lives of millions of civilians are threatened by lack of food, outbreaks of disease, and continued violence.”

.... The events unfolding in Nyal and its surrounding swamplands are just one example of how communities all over South Sudan are in urgent need of food assistance, but out of reach, either due to insecurity or lack of infrastructure. A scramble is under way to prepare food distributions to assist them, aid workers say. Some 3.2 million people are currently in an “emergency” or “crisis” phase of food insecurity under the IPC classification system. In less than two months, much of South Sudan will become inaccessible due to rain....

Fishing in the Sudd wetland, shot by Karen Conniff, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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