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WFP outraged by attack on its humanitarian boat-convoy

Authors: Daniel Danis | Obaj Okuj | Published: Wednesday, October 7, 2020

A WFP barge transporting food supplies on the Nile River | Credit | Courtesy

One person is feared dead while three others suffered gunshot injuries in an attack on a humanitarian convoy in Upper Nile State, the World Food Programme in South Sudan has said.

The UN agency said on October 5, 2020, a WFP boat-convoy carrying food assistance from Bor to Melut and Malakal was attacked around Shambe North.

It stated that the boat convoy consisted of three cargo vessels and one speed-boat.

The three cargo vessels, it added, had food items as well as 13 crew members on board.

The food was being ferried to people displaced and affected by floods in the region.

Aid agencies say over 800,000 people have been affected by the floods in South Sudan. It reported that an estimated 625,000 people have been affected by flash floods in areas along the White Nile since July.

WFP often uses air, road and river to deliver vital food to isolated communities in the most remote parts of the country.

In a statement seen by Eye Radio today, WFP condemned this and any attack on humanitarian workers and contractors, who it says risk their lives delivering much-needed food assistance to the most vulnerable people.

WFP Country Director, Matthew Hollingworth asked South Sudanese authorities to hold those responsible for the unspeakable violence accountable for their actions.

He expressed anger over an attack on the aid workers.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the missing crew member, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who suffered injuries” said Hollingworth, “Their dedication will not be forgotten.”

The agency called on all parties in South Sudan to respect international law and conditions that allow humanitarian workers to carry out their jobs in safety.

It, however, did not identify those behind this latest attack on a humanitarian convoy.

WFP engages in life-saving and life-changing activities across South Sudan as floods, subnational violence and years of conflict continue to ravage people’s homes and caused widespread hunger and malnutrition.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said nearly 90 percent of those affected are in Jonglei, Lakes and Upper Nile states.

In this effort, WFP announced plans to reach 5 million people with food and nutrition activities.

UN has maintained that the humanitarian crisis triggered by the legacy of civil war and chronic underdevelopment continues on a costly trajectory for South Sudan’s people and their outlook on the future.

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