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RAJA: FORGOTTEN IN SOUTH SUDAN

Published on Thursday 8 February 2018

Since its independence in 2011, South Sudan has struggled to provide the basic needs of its population. Today, the Raja area in the west of the country is devastated by civil war, malnutrition, and poor sanitary conditions.

A FORGOTTEN  AND ISOLATED CITY

5,690,000 is the number of people suffering from food insecurity in South Sudan. The inhabitants of the city of Raja, located in the North-west of the country, were among the most affected and seem to have the greatest difficulties in surviving with dignity and without humanitarian relief in the region. Between the actions of local militias, fighting between opposition forces and the government army, and the looting of goods trucks, the city is devoid and isolated from everything.

No eggs, no flour, no fuel. Nothing. Barely a few tomatoes and a handful of sorghum. Empty stalls run by idle traders”. This is what Thomas Gruel, emergency logistician for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, witnessed during his mission to Raja. Food is scarce in the city, and when it can be found, it is not necessarily affordable.

A civil servant earns 250 South Sudanese Pounds per month, which is about 1.18 Euros. With that, you can buy 6 tomatoes and 8 onions to feed your family for a month”.

 

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams are trying their best to strengthen populations’ resilience and prevent malnutrition in the region by distributing seeds and agricultural tools, or by training them in market gardening technics.

  • 12.5 million inhabitants
  • 91.9% poverty rate
  • 186th out of 189 on the Human Development Index
  • 226,000 people helped

AGAINST A CERTAIN DEATH

 

vieil homme Raja

© Thomas Gruel

To fight against the food crisis that is striking in the area, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s Teams have made it a priority to rehabilitate two wells and build 15 drinking water points, 10 latrines and 20 handwashing points that are easily accessible and in Raja’s heath centres. The access to safe drinking water was urgent because people were suffering from diarrhoeal diseases that amplifies the undernutrition of the most vulnerable: children and the elderly.

Because of the fighting, that burst in Raja last April, a large part of the population fled, leaving behind elderly people too weak to survive the ordeal.

“Some are too weak to walk and drag themselves through the dust to a hole they dug by hand in the ground and covered with a piece of tin as a latrine.”

Such vulnerability has even raised fears for the immediate survival of some. Elderly, disabled, sick, or unaccompanied minors. “Only 139 people”, but 139 people in danger of death. By providing two emergency rations and one daily ration for the next six months in collaboration with the South Sudanese Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, these 139 people were able to escape an almost certain death.

 

In a place like Raja, humanitarian action makes sense. When you step foot here, you have reached the end of the world. “We cannot remain indifferent to such distress.”

Thomas Gruel

 

 

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Crédit photos : © Thomas Gruel / SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL