Charity granted safe access to deliver relief supplies to 8,000 families in S. Sudan

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday South Sudan authorities granted them safe access to deliver food and shelter supplies to more than 8,000 families in the country.

Beatrice Oechsli, deputy head of delegation in Juba, said constant humanitarian aid will be critical to ensure communities do not slide deeper into hunger and their needs are met.

“While a vital lifeline today, these distributions will not be enough to sustain families through the rainy season,” Oechsli said in a statement issued in Juba.

The distribution comes after President Salva Kiir ordered implementation of the “permanent” ceasefire signed recently with rebel leader Riek Machar in Khartoum, Sudan.

Kiir called on government forces to remain vigilant in their positions and fight only in self-defense and also allow unhindered humanitarian access.

“I, Salva Kiir, do hereby issue this republican order for declaration of permanent ceasefire with effect from June 30, 2018 and to continue in full operation permanently until otherwise,” he said.

Oechsli said the aim of the aid distributions is to help several families in Leer, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes and are living without basic services s and are at-risk of diseases that can be fatal if left untreated.

The charity has been evacuating by air people wounded in the fighting in the Leer region after obtaining safe access from the parties to the conflict.

“However, the volatile security situation since fighting erupted in the beginning of April prevented relief items from being distributed,” it said.

According to charity, the first distribution took place in Loth on Thursday and the aim is to reach 3,300 families over the coming days.

“The team on the ground found people living in the open, sheltered only by trees, and surviving off of wild fruits and some fish, which are scarce due to low water levels in rivers, for more than two months,” ICRC said.