MALAKAL/JUBA - World Vision today recommenced operations in areas of Upper Nile state, South Sudan where the organisation had suspended programs last month due to violent conflict.
A small team travelled to Melut and Wau Shiluk, in Upper Nile, two hotspots in the ongoing conflict. Food assistance, shelter and water specialists will try to meet the most immediate needs of the people in these areas; an estimated population of 40,000 people.
The most immediate need is for food and sanitation; the last distribution of food was in March.
“Communities are in dire need of food. Most of the population have stayed in Wau Shilluk and more people have arrived,” said Lilian Mumbi, Manager of World Vision’s Emergency Response who travelled to Wau Shiluk. “We were warmly welcomed and communities were extremely excited to see us back,” she said.
“The most immediate need is for food and sanitation; the last distribution of food was in March. Wau Shiluk is a cholera hot spot in Upper Nile. There is a shortage of latrines, hygiene practices are poor and the population dense,” she said.
“We are concerned that if we don’t start addressing these needs immediately, we will have a much bigger problem on our hands, so our plan is to start constructing latrines as soon as we can,” she said.
It will take us some time to get our programs back up and running, but we are competing for time, against hunger and disease - Fred McCray
World Vision worked in a number of locations in Upper Nile before the latest outbreak of conflict, aiding hundreds of thousands of people with food, nutrition, water and protection. “Melut is deserted – almost 50,000 people have completely disappeared. All that is left of the town is burnt-out buildings. Our compound has been looted and equipment damaged or destroyed,” said Fred McCray, Operations Director, World Vision South Sudan. “It will take us some time to get our programs back up and running, but we are competing for time, against hunger and disease,” he said.
“Although we are working in Upper Nile with assurances of safety from all the armed groups, our programs are still suspended in Unity state. Until we are able to go back there, at least 50,000 children are at risk from malnutrition,” said McCray.
“We’re doing our best to reach people with aid, but all parties in this conflict need to respect the work of aid agencies and let us do our work safely – we are only here to serve the people of South Sudan,” said McCray.
For more information, recent images or interviews, please contact Melany Markham on +211 922 027 365 or melany_markham [at] wvi [dot] org