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PIBOR - 12 Feb 2021

Pibor authorities appeal for relief aid

WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua | Food distribution in Pieri, South Sudan, where WFP assisted 29,000 people (5 February 2019)
WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua | Food distribution in Pieri, South Sudan, where WFP assisted 29,000 people (5 February 2019)

Thousands of civilians displaced from their homes by floods and conflicts in parts of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) need humanitarian assistance as they begin resettling, local government officials have said. 

Last year, the Jonglei region, which includes GPAA, saw huge displacements due to the combined effects of the floods and cyclic violence involving the Dinka, Nuer, and Murle communities. 

Besides the displacement, livelihoods were destroyed, prompting the government and the United Nations agencies to warn of a dire humanitarian crisis in the region. 

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj Wednesday, Nyabok Ngali, the GPAA Secretary-General, said: “Last year’s floods and inter-communal violence in the areas of Likuangole, Pibor, Verthet, and Gumuruk destroyed shelters and livelihoods. And now people are beginning to return to their villages to restart their lives.”

The government official appealed to the government and aid agencies in the country to intervene. 

“Over the past weeks, there has been food being airdropped by the aid agencies in parts of the area, but only people who were registered get the food items. The majority of people stay under trees in dire need of shelter and other basic needs,” he urged.

James Mazeh, the area agriculture ministry director-general, said the population is facing hunger and the situation will worsen in the coming months if there is no support.

“Over 90 percent of our lands were not cultivated because the year started with inter-communal violence. Cattle were raided, and livelihoods were destroyed. And as the fighting stopped, civilians were unable to farm because of floods. In the entire GPAA, only parts of Pochalla and Jebel Boma saw little harvests. Now we rely on relief food and fish,” he said. 

For his part, Nyinginga Okano Kiro, the GPAA Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) director, decried the dire humanitarian situation and urged the government and relevant aid agencies in the country to urgently intervene. 

“Few people are starting to leave Pibor town for their homes, but as they return, they get nothing. So, people need help. The violence plus the floods prevented people from farming in Gumuruk, Likuangole, and Machabol. Also, in the areas of Pochalla where there was no fighting harvest was affected by the floods,” he said. 

The RRC official stressed that the looming hunger could only be averted if peace returns to the country and the civil population can go to their farms.