South Sudan

Cyclical violence threatens humanitarian assistance and food production in Pibor, South Sudan as families face extreme hunger - Oxfam

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Juba, South Sudan, Oxfam in South Sudan is extremely concerned over the recent inter-communal violence reported in Greater Pibor Administrative Area (GPAA) that is causing heightened tensions, displacing vulnerable people and restricting on the movement of humanitarian workers.

Juliet Moriku Balikowa, the Acting Country Director at Oxfam in South Sudan, said: “People in Pibor continue to suffer from unending crises. The recurrent flooding in the area has caused severe food shortages. Now it’s planting season, but we’re worried this mounting inter-communal violence will force families to flee their homes and make them miss a crucial chance to harvest their crops – and continue a worsening spiral of hunger.”

“While this violence continues, the already severe situation for communities will continue to deteriorate.
The Government should urgently intervene to stop the violence to allow humanitarians unhindered access to deliver aid and for communities to be able to safely produce food and provide for themselves. If this fighting continues, humanitarians may be evacuated, leaving vulnerable families without aid they rely on to survive," added Ms. Moriku Balikowa.

Echoing the story of hundreds of families, Martha Ngachibaba, a mother of two boys who fled the violence and now resides in a camp in Pibor said: “Our house was flooded, our goats were looted, we had to flee to Pibor town, because we couldn’t stay in Gumuruk anymore. We left with nothing except the clothes on our bodies. We are tired and suffering. We ask Oxfam to continue to give us cash transfers because it is very important. I don’t know when we shall return home.”

Amongst several other issues, food scarcity due to seasonal flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic, intercommunal violence, and the after-effects of years of civil war have resulted in a dire situation in Pibor. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projections already paint a grim picture with 7.2 million people (60% of the population) projected to face crisis levels of food insecurity between April-July 2021. 144,000 of that population are from the GPAA with about 20% (33,000 people) in IPC 5 - famine likely conditions in the actual impact locations.

Oxfam in South Sudan appreciates the efforts of the Government of South Sudan and the humanitarian agencies who are working to stop the violence. Oxfam calls upon community leaders, government and foremost the communities themselves to intervene and end the vicious cycle of violence which is not only exacerbating the already fragile humanitarian situation and increasing vulnerability of the populations but also putting aid workers at risk. As always, women, youth and other marginalized groups should have a central role in these efforts to push for peace for a sustainable, inclusive peace. Oxfam in South Sudan will continue to work with the Government and other parties for a lasting peaceful resolution, work with vulnerable communities and assist populations in need of humanitarian assistance.

Contact information

Dominic Kango Amos | dkango@oxfam.org.uk | +211 928 695 520

Notes to Editors:

• What Oxfam’s response is in Pibor.

• Oxfam is working with humanitarian partners on the ground to ensure that displaced populations receive lifesaving WASH, Food security and protection assistance.

• a link to the IPC data provided; http://www.ipcinfo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ipcinfo/docs/South_Sudan_Combined_IPC_Results_2020Oct_2021July.pdf