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Albino Akol Atak, South Sudan minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management (Left), Manase Lomole Waya (Middle), Chairperson of Relief Rehabilitation Commission and Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, Ma Qiang hold together a bag of rice during the donation ceremony held in Juba.

China donates 2,400 tons of rice to aid South Sudan’s humanitarian response

South Sudan received on Thursday about 2,400 tons of rice from the Chinese government, to help it respond to the unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by conflict in neighboring Sudan.

Albino Akol Atak, minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, said the food assistance arrived at critical time when they are struggling to pool resources to respond to the influx of thousands of people fleeing conflict across the border with Sudan.

“In this year alone, we have a great number of people of South Sudan that are in need. We have 9.4 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict in Sudan has increased this number with the influx of returnees which has added another burden,” Akol said during the handover ceremony in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

More than 50,000 people mostly South Sudanese who escaped past conflicts in South Sudan have returned to the country from Sudan.

 The United Nations and the government expect more to arrive in the coming days, as the conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) rages on.

People load some of the rice for distribution

Manase Lomole Waya, chairperson of the Relief Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), said prior to outbreak of conflict in Sudan, they were already dealing with humanitarian crisis largely caused by successive devastating floods since 2019.

 “We are going to distribute this rice to all the 10 states and three administrative areas, we will send 65 percent of the rice to the states and three administrative areas. We will also send 25 percent and give it to those who are returning home either from Sudan or other parts of the region, and 10 percent of the rice will go to the most vulnerable people these include, the disabled, orphans, the sick in hospitals and prisoners,” Lomole said.

Lomole expressed worries of the humanitarian crisis worsening if ceasefire fails to hold in Sudan.

“We hope that the situation would be resolved in that country, and that we will not be overwhelmed by the number of people coming in as refugees, but those that have come as refugees our government has put in place mechanisms of receiving them, so that they be settled in safe areas,” he said.

Lomole appealed to international donors to support South Sudan as it struggles to mitigate the influx of people across it borders.

He said that at the moment they are not only receiving people fleeing fighting in Sudan, but are also struggling to help thousands of internally displaced people to resettle in their homes.

Ma Qiang, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, said part of the rice donated by the Chinese government will be distributed to these returnees to help meet their urgent needs.

He also observed that South Sudan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change.

“We should promote green development under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, accelerate adaptation to climate change, and mitigate the negative impact of natural disasters on South Sudan,” Ma said.

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