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Over 26,000 in need of food in Jonglei’s Duk county

July 3, 14 (BOR) - More than 26,000 people in Koyiom, Payai, Pan-arou and other higher-grounds in the swampy areas of Duk county South Sudan’s Jonglei state urgently need food assistance, authorities said.

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Civilians in Jonglei awaiting delivery of food aid April 16, 2014 (ST)

The commissioner of Duk, Elijah Mochnom, having visited the area said civilians badly needed food and health services, adding that many could die within two weeks if denied assistance.

"These people are under critical conditions, they have nothing to eat, no medicines for treatment. I am afraid that if humanitarian agencies delay till the middle of this month, it would be too late to help them", Mochnom told Sudan Tribune by phone Thursday.

“These were the people who decided to hide in their local areas when the Lou Nuer and Garweer surged their villages between December 2013 and February this year”, he added.

Several non-governmental organisations, the commissioner said, pledged to do an assessment of the area situation, but has not done so since April.

"UN OCHA [UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] promised to come for assessment in April, but its staff had not appeared in the county. CRS [Catholic Relief Services] has said the same thing, so we are waiting to see if they will turn up soon", he said.

Duk, it commissioner said, has a population of nearly 72,000 people, with more than 10,000 found to be living in the swampy areas in 2012. However, more than 40,000 people sought protection in Twic East, Bor town and Mingkaman of Lakes state during intensity of the country’s crisis.

The northern Jonglei county was one of the worst-hit areas affected by the mid-December 2013 outbreak of conflict, which started in the South Sudan capital, Juba, after disputes among the presidential guards.

(ST)