1 June 2011 - The commissioner of Twic County, Warrap State, has urgently appealed to international humanitarian organizations and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to increase assistance for displaced people in his area who fled recent conflict in Abyei.
"Currently thousands of people, including women and children, who are displaced from the Abyei area are sheltering under trees (in Turalei area) without food and basic necessities," said Twic County Commissioner Dominic Deng.
Emergency food assistance from international aid agencies, including the UN World Program (WFP), was insufficient for the large influx of refugees and shelter was also lacking, the commissioner said.
"It is too difficult for these people, who are more than 40,000 in number, sheltering under trees while we have heavy rain ... in the area," he said, adding that people were continuing to flock into the county.
Margareta Coco, WFP head in Abyei, said more than 46,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had been identified and registered around Turalei and supported with food aid as of 31 May.
"We are trying to make sure that all people get immediate food assistance from WFP," Ms. Coco said." "So far about 565 metric tonnes of food have been distributed to the displaced people."
According to Commissioner Deng, trucks loaded with emergency food aid from the GoSS' humanitarian office were on their way to Twic County, which would hopefully assist in alleviating immediate need in the area.
However, the majority of IDPs complained that they had yet to receive food, urging UN agencies to distinguish them from local people who had also received assistance.
"It is very surprising to see local people from the area receiving food aid in the name of displaced people from Abyei, while we are sitting without food here," said Abyei IDP Santino Ngor.
Ms. Coco confirmed that challenges existed in separating IDPs from locals, but said her office was coordinating with local officials to resolve the problem.
With the influx of IDPs, Turalei streets were crowded with people and shortages of basic necessities were cropping up in local markets, according to residents.
"You can see there are thousands of people in this town right now, which does not have enough materials to accommodate all of them," said Kuot Deng, a teacher in the town. "I think the government should do whatever it can before things get worse."
Commissioner Deng urged the GoSS to address the problem in his county. "On behalf of the administration of Twic County, I would like ask the Government of Southern Sudan to find a quick solution for the problem."