today's Pick
Mass looting of UN food aid in South Sudan: WFP
Publish Date: Jan 25, 2014
Mass looting of UN food aid in South Sudan: WFP
South Sudanese fleeing their homes to safety in Malakal town January 21, 2014 a few days after government took the town from rebel fighters.AFP PHOTO
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GENEVA - Looters in South Sudan have stolen UN food aid that would have fed over 220,000 people for a month, the World Food Programme said Friday.

"Humanitarian access and looting of food stocks are major concerns," the UN agency's spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters.

"As a result of looting reported at WFP facilities around the country, WFP currently estimates that we may have lost more than 3,700 metric tons of food -- enough to feed more than 220,000 people for a month."

Among the hardest-hit locations was northern town Malakal, the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state.

Byrs said the WFP was trying to bring in more food, possibly through airlifts.

Aid agencies have been scrambling to deal with a ballooning humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, already one of the world's poorest nations, after fighting erupted in December.

Byrs said that it had been able to help 178,000 people so far.

"This number is rising almost daily, despite intense security and logistical challenges that have severely complicated the response," Byrs said.

The country, which won independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of warfare, has been gripped by clashes between government loyalists and a loose coalition of army defectors and ethnic militia.

Despite a ceasefire signed late Thursday in Ethiopia, the rebels on Friday accused the army of attacking their positions, though the military denied the claims.

Byrs said that the UN hoped the ceasefire would hold, enabling aid agencies to provide urgently-needed relief to the population.

Nevertheless, a halt to fighting is only the first step to restoring normalcy in the country, where homes, food markets and small businesses have been destroyed, and many people have lost their harvest.

"While a cessation of hostilities is enormously important, WFP remains concerned that the conflict has done so much damage that many people will continue to need food assistance for months -- or longer -- as they attempt to rebuild their lives," she said.

Up to 10,000 people are believed to have been killed since the conflict broke out, and 600,000 displaced.

Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said Friday that more than 100,000 South Sudanese have sought refuge in neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

In Uganda, he said, the UN has started a mass immunisation campaign to prevent the spread of a measles outbreak among the 59,000 South Sudanese refugees there.

Edwards added that some 490,000 people are currently internally displaced, with many seeking safety in UN compounds.

South Sudan is also host to 230,000 refugees, mostly from Sudan, the bulk of whom relied on aid to survive even before the fighting began.

AFP

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Onegi-Obel cleared of fraud in NSSF sh8b case
The Anti- Corruption Court has cleared the former board chairman of the National Social Security Fund(NSSF) Geoffrey Onegi Obel, of charges of abuse of office and causing financial loss in the acquisition of the sh8b Nsimbe Estates...
Brutalised baby admitted at Mulago Hospital
Eric Kamanzi and Angella Mbabazi, the parents of Aneela Kamanzi, the one-year old toddler has been admitted at the Paediatrics Acute Care Unit in Mulago Hospital for further checkup....
Sole candidature was imposed on Museveni - MP
The legislator says the resolution to field President Yoweri Museveni as the party’s sole candidate was imposed on him....
Police trying to verify Luzinda nude photos
Police seek the opinion of forensic experts to help verify the nude photos that are supposedly of musician Desire Luzinda....
Passengers get out and push frozen plane
A group of hardy Siberian oil workers stuck in a frozen plane took matters in their own hands - getting out to give the stranded jet a push....
Beggar arrested with millions in his pockets
A beggar arrested in Iran on Wednesday had millions of rials (millions of Ugandan shillings) in his pockets and a great deal more in two bank accounts....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter