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Humanitarian convoy reaches insecure areas of S. Sudan

September 6, 2018 (JUBA) - An inter-agency humanitarian convoy has reached Baggari region in South Sudan for the first time since it was cut off in June because of renewed fighting in the area.

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Part of an 18-truck WFP convoy crossing into South Sudan from Sudan, carrying 700 metric tons of food, in Nov 2014 (WFP video screen capture)

The World Food Programme (WFP), lack of security and of safety guarantees for aid workers has left some 28,000 people in Baggari, a region located southwest of Wau town, in dire need of humanitarian assistance in recent months.

A 14-truck convoy, led by WFP, reportedly brought 40 aid workers from 11 different organizations into Baggari region on Wednesday. The teams, some of which are already assisting people, are due to start a count on Friday to determine the number of people in need and their conditions, with food deliveries expected to start over the weekend.

The 11 organizations in the convoy were UN Children Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Organization for Migration, ACTED, Oxfam, Islamic Relief, Community Organization for Emergency and Rehabilitation, Johanniter International, Hold the Child, Islamic Relief and WFP.

“Access to vulnerable people continues to be challenging in South Sudan,” says WFP acting country director, Simon Cammelbeeck.

“The Baggari operation was only possible after lengthy negotiations. While thanking state and local authorities in Wau State, who have been instrumental in ensuring access and the safety of humanitarian workers, we renew our call on all parties to the conflict to provide full and unimpeded access to all affected people in the country,” he added.

The operation in Baggari was reportedly the latest example of WFP and key partners using emergency mobile teams of humanitarian workers to reach people in remote, isolated areas since 2014.

The Integrated Rapid Response Mechanism is a joint WFP-UNICEF-FAO effort to deliver a comprehensive response to address critical gaps in the provision of life-saving humanitarian coverage.

A team of access negotiators helps to re-open areas while food distributions are used to reach large numbers of people in need.

(ST)