South Sudan: Distribution of basic relief supplies begins in Malakal

Briefing Notes, 7 February 2014

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 7 February 2014, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

On Tuesday UNHCR began distributing basic relief supplies to an estimated 10,000 people displaced by the recent conflict in and around Malakal, capital of South Sudan's Upper Nile State, some 600 km north of Juba.

This is the first aid to reach the displaced people outside of the UN base in Malakal. The city was the scene some of the fiercest fighting last month. Insecurity as well as wide-spread looting of humanitarian assets meant that UNHCR and other agencies were unable to deliver aid to those displaced outside of the UN base in Malakal until now.

According to UN estimates, there are around 38,000 displaced people in Malakal, including some 28,000 sheltered in a UN base. The displaced fled from within the county of Malakal which has rivers and from Jonglei. There are many women, children and elderly people among the displaced. To reach the city of Malakal, some said they had used boats to cross the river while some others swam. Women said they walked for four hours with their children before crossing.

We are taking advantage of the relative calm following the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement between the warring forces on 23rd January 2014 to deliver aid to the most vulnerable.

Since Tuesday, we have given aid to more than 3,000 displaced and hope to reach the rest of the target group by the end of next week.

The aid items including plastic sheeting jerry cans, buckets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and blankets were airlifted into the Malakal airport from our regional stockpile in Nairobi. We are distributing the items in close collaboration with sister UN agencies and other humanitarian agencies that are part of the collaborative relief effort. In particular, IOM, UNICEF and World Vision International are involved in the distribution.

Most of the displaced have been staying in schools and other sites for weeks while others continue arriving from Khorflus in neighboring Jonglei State or from nearby villages, citing fear and insecurity despite the truce.

Some of the displaced have told our emergency staff that the security situation in their villages continues to be tense and that they could not work or survive in that kind of environment. The city of Malakal itself remains largely deserted and civilians continue to flee to and from it.

With more than 153,000 displaced people, Upper Nile has the second largest concentration of displaced people in South Sudan, after Unity State where more than 188,000 people have been uprooted since fighting broke out in mid-December. The crisis has also forced into exile over 131,000 South Sudanese to neighboring Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Juba (on mission): Kisut Gebreegziabher on mobile. +211 928 067 699
  • In Geneva: Fatoumata Lejeune on mobile +41 79 249 34 83
• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

South Sudan Crisis: Urgent Appeal

Donate now and help to provide emergency aid to tens of thousands of people fleeing South Sudan to escape violence.

Donate to this crisis

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

In the three weeks since South Sudan erupted in violence, an estimated 200,000 South Sudanese have found themselves displaced within their own country. Some 57,000 have sought sanctuary at bases of UN peace-keepers across the country. These photos by UNHCR's Senior Regional Public Information Officer Kitty McKinsey give a glimpse of the daily life of the 14,000 displaced people inside the UN compound known locally as Tong Ping, near the airport in Juba, South Sudan's capital. Relief agencies, including UNHCR, are rallying to bring shelter, blankets and other aid items, but in the first days, displaced people had to fend for themselves. The compounds have taken on all the trappings of small towns, with markets, kiosks, garbage collection and public bathing facilities. Amazingly, children still manage to smile and organize their own games with the simplest of materials.

Displacement in South Sudan: A Camp Within a Camp

Emergency food distribution in South Sudan's Jonglei state

Humanitarian organizations in South Sudan are working to deliver emergency assistance to some of the tens of thousands of people displaced by armed conflict in Jonglei state. Most of those uprooted have fled into the bush or have walked for days to reach villages away from the fighting. Others have journeyed even greater distances to find sanctuary in the neighbouring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Gaining access to those affected in an insecure and isolated area has been a significant challenge for aid workers. Since mid-July, an airlift has been providing food supplies to families living in two previously inaccessible villages and where humanitarian agencies have established temporary bases. As part of the "cluster approach" to humanitarian emergencies, which brings together partners working in the same response sector, UNHCR is leading the protection cluster to ensure the needs of vulnerable individuals among the displaced are addressed.

Emergency food distribution in South Sudan's Jonglei state

Thousands of refugees moved before the rains hit South Sudan

Since the beginning of May, an operation has been under way in South Sudan to move more than 18,000 Sudanese refugees to a newly built camp. Six days a week, around 500 people are transported from the Jamam camp in Upper Nile state to a recently constructed site called Kaya. South Sudan's long and intense rainy season will soon begin in earnest and the operation will move the refugees from a location prone to severe flooding to one designed to remain accessible and functional during the downpours. The rains leave large areas of the country cut off by flood waters for months. Residents of Jamam are assisted to move their household belongings and are allotted a plot of land on arrival in Kaya, where UNHCR partners have established schools and medical facilities. Newly arrived refugees from Sudan are also brought to Kaya, where they are provided with relief items and shelter. UNHCR's Tim Irwin was there with his camera.

Thousands of refugees moved before the rains hit South Sudan

South Sudan: Adut's strugglePlay video

South Sudan: Adut's struggle

Thousands in war-torn South Sudan have lost their homes and livelihoods. When seventeen year old Adut lost her parents, she also lost her childhood by taking on the role of mom and dad for her young siblings. But, despite the everyday struggle, she is finding new skills and new hope in exile.
South Sudan: Grandma Abuk's ChildrenPlay video

South Sudan: Grandma Abuk's Children

Years of violence and bloodshed in South Sudan robbed Abuk of her seven children. When fighting returned last year, the old lady fled anew with her grandchildren, hampered by deteriorating eyesight.
South Sudan: No Home To Return ToPlay video

South Sudan: No Home To Return To

Philip and his family fled from their home in the South Sudan town of Bor last December and found shelter in the capital, Juba. Recently they decided to return home, despite the risks. It took three arduous days to get back, but then they got there they found that their home had been destroyed.