South Sudan

Effect of violence on a South Sudanese community

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By Tamama Norbert Mansfield.

The fighting that broke out in Juba on 15 December quickly spread to other parts of the country, displacing hundreds and thousands of people and affecting the livelihood of already food insecure communities.

The community of Reggo Payam (district) of Terekeka County, of South Sudan’s Central Equatoria state is yet to recover from the brunt of violence. Forces opposed to the Government who were fleeing to the bush, after defecting from their army units, stripped them of their belongings including livestock and food, authorities said.

This impact of violence simply deepened the needs of an already vulnerable community besieged by poor nutrition and livelihood.

“The livelihood of over 3,000 people in Reggo and parts of Riggon Payams was affected after all their food was looted following the violent crisis in Mid-December. We are appealing to aid agencies to support them with relief food, seeds and farm tools to enable them regain their livelihood” said Mr. John Modi, the coordinator of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) in Terekeka County.

“We were looted of all our food and many of our livestock. We lost the seeds we wanted to plant this season” laments, Mr. Micheal Muni Lado, the executive Chief of Mirinda Boma (administrative unit). At Reggo Payam headquarters, a visibly angry trader recounts his losses. “The rebels came to my home late at night and looted all the goods in my small shop. They took 5,000 SSP and 7 bags of sorghum” he said. “I lost everything. I have no money left to restock my business” said Mr. Angelo Wani.

Villages look lifeless. Many Homes appear deserted. “The owners have gone to look for food to eat” the locals say.

Reggo Payam with an estimated population of over 19,000 people is well endowed with fertile land suitable for sustainable agriculture production. This crucial sector, capable of improving the livelihood and food security of the community, is yet to be developed. Crops yields are low, only enough to sustain families after the harvest season, leaving no surplus to put money in their pockets. The area lacks access to clean and safe drinking water. Most of people here drink dirty water collected from roadside pits. The only borehole in the area is not easily accessible to such a large number of people.

Health services are poor. A house that once served as a health center at Reggo Payam headquarters collapsed. A nearby building, with stocks of expired drugs is the current health center. No new drugs had arrived from the Central Government in Juba. “People have resorted to using local herbs for treatment when they get sick” said the RRC coordinator.

“Even before the crisis disorganized us, we were having many problems, but now it’s worse because we don’t even have food to eat. Not even utensils for cooking the little food we get. everything was taken. We are calling for help” said the Chief of Mirinda.