Conflict has plunged South Sudan into a man-made famine and millions of people across the country are starving. In South Sudan we have been supporting over 400,000 people, ensuing they have safe access to food. We’re providing them with cash or vouchers so they can buy from local markets, and we’re distributing food with the World Health Programme (WHP).
In March, our Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods team (EFSVL) learned that new families were arriving in the town of Nyal exhausted and severely malnourished. People had fled their homes to escape the fighting, had their food looted and crops destroyed. This meant that people hadn’t eaten for days.
Many walked for two to five days to get to Nyal, with much of their journey through the vast Sudd swamp. When they arrived, children were subdued and people were so weak they could only lie on the floor.
The next food delivery was several days away, so our team had to act fast. The desperate situation meant that an exceptional decision was taken to charter a plane and fly in a supply of beans and oil from Oxfam’s Juba warehouse, and compliment it with salt purchased locally from markets.
These photos, taken by Oxfam staffers Corrie Sissons and Lauren Hartnett, show the seven steps Oxfam took to ensure food was efficiently and effectively delivered to those who desperately need it.
1. Local survey.
Before food is distributed in an area, Oxfam staffers survey local traders to see if items can be bought locally. The survey showed that salt was available, so this was purchased in Nyal.
2. Flying in supplies.
When the plane landed at the airstrip, Oxfam staffers unloaded the sacks of beans and cans of oil—enough for about 1,800 people, most of whom are women and children.
3. Transporting the food.
Staffers load food into vehicles so they can deliver it to the sites where people will gather for the distributions – a four hour round trip.
4. Taking fingerprints.
An Oxfam staffer records the fingerprints of people who will be receiving food during the distribution. The fingerprints are in lieu of signatures and serve as verification that people got their share of beans, oil and salt.
Oxfam staffers portion out cooking oil to distribute to families who had registered for food.
6. Stoking the fire.
As soon as they received their food, people stoked up their fires and got to work preparing a meal of beans.
The dispalced families in Nyal now have some desperately needed food, which not only fills tummies, but lifts spirits. It even allows child’s play to return to what it what it might have been during a more peaceful time. “Playing kitchen,” these children have their own small pot of beans to cook over their own little fire.
Now that the families are in Nyal, the World Food Programme will register them to receive monthly food support.
People are continually arriving in Nyal, weak and hungry. We need to get as much food and aid to them as possible – and fast. You can help: