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SSHF, World Vision and CCM launch emergency response in Greater Tonj counties

The recent South Sudan Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) on Food Security Report has projected that starting April 2021, an estimated 7.4 million people in the country, or 60 percent of its total population, will face severe acute food insecurity and warned of the need for urgent action. The report further flagged that 31,000 are at risk of a catastrophe.

“Our people are hungry. The women and children are suffering. You have seen them in the streets. We need food, clean water, and medicines for the sick. As a mother I appeal for help”, says Warrap State Health Minister Abak yel Madoot during the launch of the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF) assisted emergency response to Tonj East, South, and North counties.

Government officials led by Warrap State Health Minister Abak yel Madoot and Tonj South Executive Director Valentino Ater Machar and various partners joined World Vision and CCM in the launch.

 

Tonj South Executive Director Valentino Ater Machar seconded her appeal and said the assistance must come before the rainy season. “Flooding can cut off access to many parts of the county. World Vision was among the first organizations to help us during wartime. We are glad you are back at peacetime to support us again”, Machar says.

At least 13,000 people from the above at-risk population were identified by the IPC Report from Tonj North County, with Warrap State among the most insecure along with Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile, Lakes and Northern Bahr El Ghazal. Alarmingly, over 1.3 million 6-59 months old children are projected to need treatment from acute malnutrition, as well as 483,382 pregnant or lactating mothers.

County Chief Manuel Magor explains the difficult condition of people in very remote areas without access to health facilities to World Vision Country Director Dr. Mesfin Loha and P&C and Government Relations Manager Abraham Mabior.

 

County Chief Manuel Magor, a father of 10, also appealed that the Agoga area, over 40km from the town, should not be forgotten. “They are isolated during the rainy season and have no source of clean water. Their health center has no facilities and if children are sick, they have to walk for days”, he shares.

We are glad of the support of many partners rallying for the cause. This lean season is among the worst that we have seen in South Sudan in many years. It will be a powerful action if we all work together as it is about the people.

The Greater Tonj Emergency Response funded by UN OCHA’s SSHF aims to provide multi-sectoral life-saving services to the crisis-affected population in Tonj East, South, and North counties. The response will be implemented by World Vision and partner Comitato Collaborazione Medica (CCM), an Italian NGO.

The crisis response will be for a period of nine months and will focus on protection, health and nutrition, and food security and livelihoods. “We are glad of the support of many partners rallying for the cause. This lean season is among the worst that we have seen in South Sudan in many years. It will be a powerful action if we all work together as it is about the people”, says Dr. Mesfin Loha, World Vision’s Country Director.

Dr. Loha also took time to visit the Tonj Civil Hospital constructed a year ago and is yet to start operations due to lack of facilities. State Minister Abak yel Madoot appealed for support.

 

Dr. Loha reminded all partners to act fast without delay, coordinate properly at all levels, ensure program quality keeping in mind the state of the children and families, be accountable for the resources, and share proactively. He adds, “We need to prevent further deterioration of the situation.” Other partners have committed to support other sectors and areas not covered by the response.

Hon. Health Minister Madoot showed Dr. Loha and the team the Tonj Civil Hospital built through her efforts to provide better maternal and child health services to the county and nearby areas. “I grew up in this place and it is a dream come true for this hospital to be finally built. But we need assistance from organizations to start its operations”, she shares.

If completed, the Tonj Civic Hospital can cater to the needs of the vulnerable population, especially women, children and the elderly.

 

According to Dr. Matiang Agany, the hospital can accommodate 300 patients per day but has yet to open as it needs support on staffing, facilities, and operational funds. “We are hoping to generate donations for the hospital as this will address many of the services that people urgently need”, Dr. Agany explains.

World Vision’s Greater Bahr El Ghazal Zone is operational in two states namely Warrap State covering Tonj North, Tonj South, Tonj East, Gogrial East, Gogrial West, and Twic counties, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal State that includes Aweil North, Aweil West, and Aweil East counties reaching out to over a million people. It is currently the co-chair for Humanitarian Coordination in Warrap State.

World Vision's Tonj East and South teams composed of 34 staff (some not available) who will support the response team and partners.

 

Story and photos by Cecil Laguardia, Communications Manager