The United Nations, in a report released yesterday, said that humanitarian aid is being rushed to victims of violent clashes from cattle raiding in Jonglei, the largest state in South Sudan. The UN says, “Inter-agency assessments in Akobo East, Akobo West in Jonglei State and Ulang in Upper Nile confirmed that 23,350 individuals were affected and are in need of humanitarian assistance.”
Food aid included nutritional supplements to children under five years of age in Akobo East. In addition, 120 metric tons of food were brought into Ulang, Upper Nile States to feed 10,500 people.
The violence was just the latest round of internal conflict in Jonglei. Toby Lanzer, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, said today that the UN “is also assisting 19,000 civilians in Pibor County whose lives have been at risk due to inter-communal violence and hostilities between the army and non-state armed actors in the past months.”
Lanzer added, “During my recent visit to Akobo and Pibor, I met communities who are living in fear of what may happen over the coming weeks. I am deeply concerned about the increasing threats to civilians in Jonglei.”
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to South Sudan, Hilde F. Johnson, says, “These reoccurring spates of violence are extremely serious and can jeopardize everything that has been achieved so far for peace and reconciliation in Jonglei. I am very worried, and strongly urge immediate action to be taken by government and community leaders to ensure stability. The cycle of violence must stop.”
The conflict in Jonglei has deepened hunger in an area already extremely food insecure. The United Nations is moving supplies into Jonglei’s Pibor County ahead of the rainy season. UN peacekeepers provided an escort for the food deliveries.
Andrew Jackson, a UN World Food Programme logistics officer says, ““Pibor is cut off for eight months of the year so we have a very small window of opportunity to bring in as much supplies as possible. We believe that this aid will have a tremendous impact to save the lives of vulnerable people in the region.”