Inter-communal violence returned to the area in July when the Lou Nuer youth attacked the local Murle communities in 23 villages. The violence, which affected areas including Lekwangule and Gumuruk, forced thousands of locals to flee, meaning they were unable to cultivate their crops -- their source of food and survival.
We have asked donors for something like 20 million US dollars.”
We have asked donors for something like 20 million US dollars in order to get more food and helicopters into Jonglei,” Chris Nikoi, WFP Country Director, said after his return from Pibor on Saturday. I hope that they will respond positively to this appeal.”
South Sudan’s army is clashing against a rebellion led by David Yau Yau in the massive eastern state. More than 1,600 people have been killed during inter-communal violence in Jonglei since South Sudan became a nation in its own right.
Thousands flee villages in fear of raiders
The reality is that, due to this conflict, especially in Pibor, locals miss the planting season completely. They have not been able to cultivate during the time of rain and so unfortunately […] the people in this particular county are going to continue to need our assistance right through to the end of the year and maybe beyond,” Nikoi added.
Two helicopters have started operation in Jonglei State to boost food distribution to the areas affected by inter-communal violence especially areas of Pibor County,” Nikoi said, adding that another helicopter should be sent to the region soon.
But that is not enough to solve the food-distribution problem, he said. Transporting food aid is a big challenge in the restive Jonglei State, where road transportation is practically impossible and distances are huge.
The reality is that, due to this conflict, especially in Pibor, locals miss the planting season completely.”
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) early this year warned the government to do more to avert the situation, otherwise, it warned, the violence could spill over into the rest of the country, triggering another civil war.
Officials urged humanitarian agencies to deliver relief food soon, as they fear starvation for locals who start to return home. Last week, the head of the UN Office for Humanitarian Coordination (UNOCHA), Vincent Lelei confirmed that aid agencies had begun distributing food in Pibor County again.
The renewed conflict has forced thousands to flee to the bushes and become refugees in Raat, on the border between Ethiopia and South Sudan. Local leaders said at least 328 members of the Murle community were killed during last month’s inter-tribal fighting in the troubled state.