Families flee South Sudan fighting with nothing

by Plan UK | Plan UK
Thursday, 8 May 2014 10:56 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Families in South Sudan are in desperate need of help after being forced to flee their homes by fighting, reports aid agency Plan International.

Many of those sheltering in makeshift camps have no shoes and insufficient food, surviving on fruit they can pick from the bush.

The plight of families in Melijo camp, near the Ugandan border, is a snapshot of the one million who have fled their homes to various camps since January.

“These people have seen family killed in front of them, their homes burned and cattle and possessions stolen,” says Plan’s Gloria Donate from Juba.

“They’re living in makeshift camps they made themselves with bamboo, clay and bits and pieces of plastic sheeting.”

With no clean water supply, children as young as five are walking up to one-and-a-half hours each day to drink from a river.

“Women are being overburden with fetching wood, water and taking care of babies as there are currently no nurseries,” adds Ms Donate.

Aid workers for Plan are distributing food through the World Food Programme to some of Melijo’s inhabitants.

The charity is also providing life-saving mosquito nets, soap, buckets for clean water and plastic sheeting for shelter through the new START fund.

Families are keen to rebuild their livelihoods too with seeds, tools and fishing kits to earn a living.

“One of the biggest tragedies is that many of the younger people have spent most of their lives in such camps after fleeing the civil war a decade ago,” says Ms Donate.

“They desperately need the international community’s help to make a better life for themselves and their children,” she adds.

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