Cyclical violence patterns dent the humanitarian assistance and agricultural production efforts in Pibor South Sudan - Oxfam

Friday, May 21, 2021
Displaced women arrive at Pibor town after fleeing intercommunal violence in Verteth. Photo by Dominic Kango

Juba, South Sudan, May 21, 2021 - Oxfam in South Sudan voices its concerns over the recent inter-communal violence reported in Greater Pibor Administrative (GPAA) that is causing heightened tensions and displacements of vulnerable populations and restriction on the movement of humanitarian workers.

Juliet Moriku Balikowa, the Acting Country Director at Oxfam in South Sudan said: “People in Pibor have suffered a lot and continue to suffer from unending crises. The recurrent flooding in the area has caused severe food shortages. It is now planting season. However, with the emerging inter-communal violence resulting in displacement, we are worried that this may push the people away from their homes. Therefore, they will not be able to cultivate thus exacerbating the already bad situation.”

“Without stopping the intercommunal violence, the extreme severity and continuous deterioration of the situation is imminent. This violence together with already existing layers of shocks have been major drivers of the current situation in Pibor and the Government must intervene to stop the violence to enable unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance while allowing the population to meaningfully participate in agricultural production activities. Without a stop to the ICV, humanitarian workers may be required to evacuate leaving the vulnerable population without any assistance,” added Juliet.

Echoing the story of hundreds of families, Martha Ngachibaba, a mother of two boys who fled the violence and now resides in a camp in Pibor said: “Our house was flooded, our goats were looted, we had to flee to Pibor town, because we couldn’t stay in Gumuruk anymore. We left with nothing except the clothes on our bodies. We are tired and suffering also. We ask Oxfam to continue to give us the cash transfer because it is very important. I don’t know when we shall return home.”

Amongst several other issues, food scarcity due to seasonal flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic, intercommunal violence, and the after-effects of years of civil war have resulted in a dire situation in Pibor. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projections already paint a grim picture with 7.2 million people (60% of the population) projected to face crisis levels of food insecurity between April-July 2021. 144,000 of that population are from the GPAA with 20% (30,000 people) in IPC 5 - famine likely conditions in the actual impact locations.

Oxfam in South Sudan appreciates the efforts of the Government of South Sudan and the humanitarian agencies who are working to stop the violence. Oxfam calls upon community leaders, government and foremost the communities themselves to intervene and end the vicious cycle of violence which is not only exacerbating the already fragile humanitarian situation and increasing vulnerability of the populations but also putting aid workers at risk. Oxfam in South Sudan will continue to work with the Government and other parties for a lasting peaceful resolution, within vulnerable communities and assist populations in need of humanitarian assistance.

Contact information: 

Dominic Kango Amos | | +211 928 695 520