World Vision today announced that their response to the conflict in South Sudan has reached over ½ million people with assistance since December 2013.
Of the 1.5 million who have been displaced since conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013, only 100,000 live inside Protection of Civilian camps (PoCs).
World Vision has directed their resources people outside these camps.
“We have focused our resources on people who have fled into small towns and villages; those who have been absorbed into existing communities,” said Perry Mansfield, National Director, World Vision South Sudan.
“In some places, local officials tell us that populations have doubled or tripled – swollen by people who have fled from the conflict. This puts a tremendous strain on people who had very little even before the crisis.”
In total, World Vision’s relief effort has aided 525,775 people in South Sudan, including 180,000 people with food rations, 130,000 people with seeds or fishing nets, almost 70,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene services and almost 130,000 people with plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, jerry cans and other essential items.
Operations are focused on lifesaving activities, such as the diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition and food and seed distribution and supplying clean water and located primarily in Upper Nile and Unity states.
“Many displaced people have ‘settled’, if you can even call it that, along the Nile and much of our work is focused there,” said Mansfield.
“Some of these people are refugees from border areas with Sudan. Other were refugees and have fled conflict once again,” he added.
Among those that World Vision has assisted is a group of 2,500 people from the Nuba Mountains. Now living near Kodok in Upper Nile, World Vision has built an emergency water system that supplies enough clean water for each person, every day.
“This is the only assistance that these people have received from non-government organisations,” said Mansfield. Others who are just as difficult to reach are a group of Arab Nomads called ‘Falata’.
Resilient and self-sufficient, Falata are Muslim pastoralists who roam throughout Sudan and South Sudan. Their leader, Sheikh Abdul Lai, reported that two had been killed over the last week by armed gunmen.
World Vision’s mobile teams are helping to vaccinate the livestock of the Falata – some 10,000 cattle, sheep and goats.
Ensuring that the animals are disease free will provide a safe food supply as the Falata continue to migrate.
“The environment in South Sudan is volatile and the population highly mobile,” said Mansfield.
“The paradox is that the very thing that often keeps people safe (fleeing to remote areas) can also make them very difficult to assist,” he said.
“Although they may find peace, there is little else. For these people, even the most basic assistance can help them rebuild their lives or fortify them against further catastrophe,” he said.