Oxfam spokesperson available for interview following visit to Unity State, South Sudan.
Dorothy Sang, Oxfam’s Campaigns Manager in South Sudan, has just returned from a trip in the swamp of Nyal in Panyijar County, southern Unity State, which has the worst nutrition in the country along with Leer County, where famine was declared last week. Panyijar sits next to the famine affected areas, and as people move into the county, Oxfam warned that they need urgent funds in order to reach the growing numbers on the move. So far, Oxfam and other humanitarian organizations have been able to help to keep famine from spreading with food distributions, clean water and other vital aid.
Sang said: "We are seeing communities now at the breaking point. In the swamps between the famine-affected areas and where Oxfam is working, we know that there are thousands of people going desperately hungry. People who have flocked to the islands to seek safety are now finding a new threat - hunger.
The people of South Sudan are doing all they can to help themselves. Families where the newly displaced have arrived are generously offering what little they have. But this is not enough. We need to get more food, clean water and other vital support to these people.
“What concerns us most are the people we have yet to reach. The fighting means no one is able to work on the remote islands, and we are only able to send canoes up river to help people when we can ensure the safety of our staff.
“With heavy fighting in the worst-affected areas, there is mounting need as people flee to find safety and aid. We need the fighting to stop and we need more funds ready in order to respond to needs.”
Oxfam is providing water and sanitation in Nyal to help people avoid diseases like cholera and diarrhea, which can lead to malnutrition and prove fatal. It is also providing vouchers for canoes to bring the most vulnerable people sheltering from the conflict on remote islands to reach aid distributions. Oxfam has also provided clean water and toilets on some of the islands closest to Nyal.