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South Sudan: Food for desperate families

Regular food distributions are helping children and their families survive the food crisis in South Sudan. However, needs are increasing and supplies are running out.

Food distributions in South Sudan
Plan International has been distributing food in Awerial since November 2015.

Donate to the East Africa food crisis appeal Since November 2015, Plan International has distributed food to 8,660 people from Awerial in South Sudan’s Lakes State in partnership with the World Food Programme. Around 70% of these people were forced to flee their homes in Jonglei state because of the ongoing conflict in the country.

A woman collecting food from a Plan International distribution
Many of the people in Awerial have been displaced by the civil war in South Sudan.

“We left our fertile lands in Jonglei,” says one woman who regularly receives food from Plan International. “We could not even harvest our lands because we were so afraid of the fighting. Our only choice was to escape. We came here with nothing. Since we settled here, we have seen no rain and we depend on the food we get from Plan International.”

A food distribution point in Awerial, South Sudan
Plan International is distributing food in partnership with the World Food Programme.

Celestino Dumo, Plan International Field Coordinator for Awerial, says that the original plan had been to provide food to the internally displaced people in the area but it soon became clear that local people were also going hungry. “The food crisis is affecting everyone,” he says.

The villagers used to receive enough food to last them an entire month but the influx of internally displaced people and increasing food needs across South Sudan have meant supplies are stretched much more thinly.

Women receiving food in Awerial, South Sudan
An increasing number of people have become reliant on the food distributions to survive.

Each person now receives 7.5kg of sorghum or maize, 1.5 kg beans, 0.45 kg oil and salt every month.

we depend on the food we get from Plan International

“We now have to give people half a month’s supply to ensure everyone has some form of food in their households, but that is meagre,” Dumo says.

Another woman who receives this food says it lasts her family 15 days at most. “It is only enough to cook one meal,” she says. “We do not even have money for milling, so we pound the maize until it’s soft.”

Community members from Awerial registering to receive food distributions
Food distributions consist of sorghum or maize, beans, oil and salt.

The community hears when Plan International is coming to distribute food from a community radio announcement broadcast 3 days in advance. Community leaders are also told and the message quickly spreads from family to family.

On the day of the distribution, beneficiaries – mostly women and girls – register their names and collect their share.

Children gather to receive food aid
The food supplies that children and families depend upon are running out.

Men are largely absent, however. Those that are still alive are out fishing or herding cattle. Most of them, though, were killed in the conflict, leaving their wives and daughters to fend for themselves.

Plan International’s stocks are running out. Supplies remain but only enough for the next month and a half and there is no oil for cooking. These people need urgent help from the international community before their only source of food runs out.

Please support our response to the famine in South Sudan