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05-04-2012 | Africa

South Sudan: Aid reaches disputed area

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has just completed the distribution of seed and agricultural tools to approximately 15,000 displaced people around Agok in the southern part of disputed Abyei area. These people are among the one hundred thousand people who fled fighting in May 2011. 8 months on and these families are struggling to survive.

Aciei Lual is 35 years old and used to cook and sell food at Moulom village market in Abeyei. When her village was attacked, she fled with her 7 children. As they ran, her brother-in-law was shot dead. "I saw people falling from my left, from my right and behind me," recalls Lual. "But god said it was not my day to die. We stepped over many dead bodies and kept on going."

Lual has been in Nyintar village ever since. She and her children depend on international aid and the generosity of host communities. Some villages in the area have seen their population double as they absorb the displaced people. This strains already scarce resources.

Andrea Anselmi is part of an International Committee of the Red Cross team handing out seeds, food and farming tools to 240 families in Nyintar. Host communities are being included in the distribution to help ensure the harvests are adequate in August. Anselmi explains: "The idea is that these people won't have to be dependent on food aid. They'll have their own means to survive. So the ICRC is giving them some tools and some seeds, mainly ground nuts and sorghum and vegetable seeds."

This distribution of aid took place from 12th March to 4th April. Host communities have allocated areas of land which displaced people can farm temporarily.

Lual says: "It is good to receive these seeds and tools because then we can survive on what we produce."

The ICRC aims to help people to become self sufficient by producing their own food. In October and November 2011, the organization distributed over 1,200 fishing kits to families living in villages north of Agok. The same families also received various household essentials, such as mosquito nets and kitchen sets.

Facts & Figures: 

  • In late April, the ICRC will launch a campaign to vaccinate 100,000 head of cattle in Gogrial East County, Warrab state, with the aim of reducing the incidence of death and disease among animals.
  • An ICRC medical team based in Malakal Teaching Hospital provides paediatric, trauma and emergency surgical care. It is highly experienced in war surgery, which it performs in the hospital or at the scene of fighting.
  • In Unity state, the ICRC repairs and builds public water points and treatment plants in rural and urban areas.


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