An IOM convoy of four trucks packed with life-saving Non Food Items (NFIs), is on its way to Pibor town in South Sudan's Jonglei State where the relief will be delivered to about 7, 500 people affected by recent ethnic fighting.
A helicopter carrying an extra consignment of NFIs is also expected to leave for Pibor in the coming days.
The convoy, organized by IOM with the support of the government of South Sudan, left Jonglei's capital Bor yesterday and is expected to arrive in Pibor town on Saturday 14th January.
The four trucks are carrying 1,500 NFI kits that include kitchen utensils, soap, jerry cans, blankets, plastic sheeting and mosquito nets.
The helicopter, an Mi26 provided by the UN mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, will carry a similar consignment of 1,500 NFI kits. The consignment will supplement items already prepositioned by the Organization in key locations close to the affected areas around Jonglei state.
Since the attack on Pibor three weeks ago, emergency relief could only be airlifted into the town due to a combination of insecurity and the poor state of the roads. The IOM convoy will be the first major relief assistance to reach the stricken town by road.
Once in Pibor town, the NFIs will be distributed to the affected communities by implementing partners such as the non-governmental organizations INTERSOS and Save the Children, until IOM staff can be located there.
IOM is concerned by the condition of some of those affected who have emerged from hiding in the bush after spending three weeks without food, clean water, shelter and limited access to medical services.
While many of those affected by the violence still remain hidden in the bush, IOM anticipates that radio adverts will encourage those in need to come forward to receive assistance.
Fighting between Lou Nuer and Murle at the end of last year had led to the deaths of a yet undetermined number of people and more than 60,000 persons have been affected according to UNMISS. It is the worst outbreak of violence since South Sudan gained its independence last year. The two communities have been warring over cattle rustling amongst other issues. In the recent clashes, over 50,000 cattle are said to have been herded away by the Lou Nuer.
Meanwhile, IOM and the government's Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, (RRC), have started the process of registration and verification of those who have been affected by the recent fighting. IOM is operating a registration and tracking database for returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the ten states of South Sudan.