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Stories of struggling families in South Sudan

27 January, 2012: At least 17, 000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2 payams of Gumuruk and Likuangole of Pibor County have benefited in the first 2 weeks of food distribution conducted by Plan in partnership with the World Food Program (WFP).

In the whole county, 76, 000 IDPs are reported to be in dire need of food, shelter, medication and security remain the priority concerns for the IDPs.

Villages burned down

Ngare-and-her-family

Ngare, one of the 17,000 IDPs in the 2 Payams in Pibor County, waiting to receive relief food.

40 years old Mary Nyagolol had to flee Likuangole at dawn with her family. Her husband, along with his other 2 wives, guided them through the bushes. She says her step son was abducted during that night as they were running to save their lives. They hid in the bushes for a week surviving on wild fruit and meat.

“When we learnt of food distribution in Pibor town, I first came to see it and went back to inform the entire family. All of us then came down to Pibor to register ourselves for relief food,” says Mary.

The food we received today is the only thing we have. Everything was looted by the attackers. Our cows were raided and our crops were burnt down by them,” she adds.

Dire need

villagers-waiting-for-food

IDPs at Pibor airstrip waiting to receive food distributed by WFP.

Aid agencies operating in Jonglei report that Likuangole is in need of urgent help. The situation is dire. Villages have been burned and people are now hiding in the bushes. Besides the cattle raids, there have been reports of missing children.

Kongkong Kalayin, a 22-year-old and a mother of 3 has just returned from the hiding with her large extended family. They received food aid for 26 people in 1 household.

“Because of the food we have received, we will return to Likuangole to start a new life. I am happy my children have some food to eat today,” says Kongkong.

The most vulnerable

Most schools have been burned down posing a big challenge for school going children as schools reopen next month after the summer break. The few schools left are being occupied by IDPs.

“I want my children to go to school, but it’s not possible now. I would send some of them to Juba if I had the money so that they continue to learn there. I don’t know if we are returning to Likuangole,” says Ngachuro Kirerwa, a mother of 6.

Everywhere in Pibor town, families are sleeping under trees and children are the most vulnerable to hunger, disease, violence exploitation and abuse.

Resettling displaced people

The local authority of Pibor is calling on aid agencies to help resettle IDPs by providing food aid and non-food aid at their respective original areas of residence.

“This area is like a desert. We don’t have boreholes so we use the river water to drink and bathe in,” says Joseph Bagili, Director, Gumuruk Payam .

Plan is currently distributing food at Gumuruk and Likuangole payams, targeting 15,000 IDPs in each location over the next 3 months.