Hunger forces people in Twic to survive on leaves

Getty image of a woman feeding a child

By William Madouk Garang

Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), doctors without borders are reporting severe food shortages in Twic County of Warrap State which have forced many families to survive on leaves of trees as hunger is on its peak.

Sami Al-Subaihi, MSF’s emergency project coordinator in South Sudan said about 20 thousand displaced persons who are now in camps lack food, proper shelters, dismal water and sanitation conditions.

The MSF emergency project coordinator cited that community leader in Nyin Deng Ayuel Camp has informed him that two kids and an adult have died in the past two days, and he also met a mother sitting by her 5-years old son’s freshly dug grave.

“Her three other children, all very thin and weak, sit at the entrance of the family’s improvised shelter. Speaking with their mum, I can’t get an exact picture of what caused her son’s death, but looking over at his siblings; I’ve no doubt the lack of food contributed,” MSF Coordinator said.

He stressed that for months now people have been surviving out in open ground, and there is need to cloth and plastic sheets to shield them from the scorching sun, and the constant threat of snakes and scorpions.

According to Al-Subaihi the situation is bleak and he had seen people collapsing, physically exhausted clear indications that they haven’t had enough meal for a while.

“I don’t see anyone cooking or any food stored in any of the shelters. People tell me that there are almost no fish left in the drying river, forcing many to collect leaves to eat. The food shortages in the camps have been getting worse since February, when thousands of people first arrived here after deadly clashes forced them to leave their homes in Agok, 20 kilometers from here,” the health worker said.

He said dire situation has forced them to provide communities with food items, and almost 500 metric tons was distributed in past few months in a bid to avert disaster.

MSF team also distributed blankets, mosquito nets, Jerry cans and soup to around 10 thousand families and built 310 latrines, installed eight clean water stations and they are in process to dig more boreholes.

In addition, to running mobile clinic in six locations where medics regularly attend to sick children with Malaria and diarrheal diseases and more recently increasing cases of malnutrition.

“But honestly, it’s not nearly enough. With the rains can come flooding, poorer living conditions, and less access to clean water and sanitation services, which will increase risks of disease outbreaks, like malaria, measles and cholera,” he stressed.

Mr. Al-Subaihi further narrated that despite multiple alarms since emergency broke out there has been no proper response from both international organization and government.

“And now, rather than scaling up, key organizations are being forced to reduce their activities because of funding cuts. At the same time, the skyrocketing cost of food globally is being felt acutely by already vulnerable communities hit by crisis after crisis in South Sudan,” he further said.  

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