WFP Condemns Warehouse Loots in South Sudan’s Pibor
By Deng Machol
Juba – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has condemned the looting of its food assistance and destruction of humanitarian storage units in South Sudan’s Pibor Administrative Area in Greater Jonglei.
A WFP statement said some 550 metric tons of food, enough to feed 33,000 food-insecure people for one month, were looted or destroyed in Gumuruk, Pibor in the first two weeks of May during the latest bout of violence.
The food included cereals, pulses, cooking oil, and nutrition supplements for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition in children and women,” A WFP statement read.
Violence between armed groups flared up in May, displacing thousands of people and jeopardizing the ability of humanitarian agencies to support communities on the brink of famine.
In May, increased attacks between local groups have reportedly displaced nearly 9,000 people from Gumuruk and Lekuangole to Pibor town.
“WFP is outraged by the senseless violence and theft of its food assistance in Gumuruk, where people are on the brink of starvation and need every bit of assistance they can get to survive. The food stolen was intended for the poorest and hungriest families who have lost loved ones, livestock, and other assets because of unspeakable acts of violence and unprecedented flooding that swallowed up their homes and lands,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP Representative and Country Director in South Sudan.
Conflict has ravaged and blighted Greater Jonglei for years, leading to mass displacement and the loss of both lives and assets, exacerbating the overall humanitarian situation.
At least 7.24 million people across South Sudan are food insecure, nearly 50 percent of them are in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states.
In the statem, WFP further calls on all parties and groups in South Sudan to respect the neutrality of humanitarian workers and installations.
It added that WFP together with other humanitarian agencies is working to help lessen the suffering of the people of South Sudan in Jonglei and across the country.
“Such attacks make our work increasingly challenging,” said WFP in the statement.
According to WFP, the scale and severity of acute food insecurity in South Sudan will continue to rise as July and August are the peak of the lean season when families have depleted most of their harvest and are highly dependent on food assistance.
Regardless of the looting, The UN food agency said it will continue to provide urgently needed food assistance to thousands of vulnerable people in the area.
Last year, WFP reached 5.2 million people across the country with food and nutrition assistance.
South Sudan, which returned to the civil war after three years of her independence and just emerged from the country’s five year conflict, is still struggling to implement the fragile peace signed in 2018 by the warring parties.