Food for the South’s Returnees
With Southern Sudan on the brink of becoming the world’s newest nation—indicators pointing to southerners choosing independence from the North in the forthcoming referendum—many people have returned to the South with high hopes of a new life. The UN has recorded around 120,000 returnees since late October, many of whom are arriving at Juba’s port before being transferred to their homelands. For many, though, it is Juba where they will settle, reunited with their families in the Southern capital.
The World Food Programme is providing assistance to around 100,000 of the returnees, who have come with little or no financial means to carve out a new life as this new nation takes form. Returnees are given three months of food assistance, with help to households in the shape of lentils, sorghum, salt and cooking oil. Focus is on feeding people who arrive at their final destination, settling with their families, encouraging them to begin growing their own food in the South’s fertile soils. For those stuck in transit, emergency food relief has also been provided.
Here in Juba, 3199 people in the district of Buluk today received their second monthly ration, the majority having arrived on the 17th and 18th December 2010 after years in the North. With further distribution to 811 people tomorrow, this will be the final food distribution in Juba before the start of voting on Sunday, 9th January, where Southerners will decide between unity with Northern Sudan, or secession.
» More images from the food distribution, starting here.