UNHCR and partners distribute aid to conflict-affected in South Sudan's Pariang County

Making a Difference, 12 March 2014

© UNHCR/D.S.Majak
Displaced women in Pariang County head to their shelters after receiving humanitarian assistance from UNHCR and partners.

PARIANG, South Sudan, March 12 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency and its partners have over the past fortnight distributed aid to more than 11,000 forcibly displaced people in South Sudan's Pariang County, one of the areas worst hit by the fighting that erupted last December in the country.

UN estimates the number of displaced in the seven districts of Pariang, which is located in Unity state, at about 20,000. "So far, we have given aid to 11,482 displaced people and we hope to reach the rest [of the 20,000] by the end of this month," said Cleophas Mubangizi, head of UNHCR's sub-office at Jam Jang in Unity state.

"It was necessary that we respond promptly to help the people of Pariang restart their lives," stressed Gilbert Anyama, a UNHCR supply assistant. He said UNHCR distributed aid taken from stockpiles in the Unity camps of Yida and Ajuong Thok, home to nearly 80,000 refugees from Sudan.

The aid included plastic sheeting, jerry cans, buckets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and blankets. The World Food Programme with its local partner has distributed 80 tons of food and plans to hand out another 95 tons.

Those who have received their aid were very grateful. "Words can't tell how grateful we are to UNHCR for the items provided to us," said 70-year-old Maria, who thought she and her grandchildren were going to die when the fighting came to their village on December 20.

"The shooting began at dawn when I was asleep in our hut with my daughter and two grandchildren," she recalled. "Despite finding it difficult to walk, I grabbed my grandchildren and told my daughter to follow us as we ran with the bullets whizzing around," added Maria, who feared for the health of the children in the bush as the rainy season approached.

The displaced comprised mainly women, children and older people as the youth stayed behind to try and protect their territory. "We walked for six hours with children before reaching safety," said mother-of-four Ayom, who also received food and non-food aid.

Meanwhile, plans are under way for UNHCR and its inter-agency partners in camp management to construct a site in Pariang County for the internally displaced. The facility should ease the delivery of humanitarian assistance and services to the displaced until a durable solution is achieved.

Unity state has the largest concentration of displaced people in South Sudan with more than 186,000 people uprooted by the fighting, followed by Jonglei state with 145,700. The crisis has also forced more than 130,000 people to flee the country.

By Dew Sunday Majak in Pariang, South Sudan




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 Crisis: One Year OnPlay video

South Sudan Crisis: One Year On

Uganda: A Father's TroublesPlay video

Uganda: A Father's Troubles

Forty-five-year-old Gabriel fled South Sudan with his wife and children to find safety in the UN compound in Bor. But, in April 2014, his wife was killed when an armed mob forced their way in, and now he is a single father to five children, seeking a better life in Uganda.
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.