Juba, July 15: The United Nations today ordered the temporary relocation of some non-critical staff from Juba, South Sudan, due to the operational challenges caused by the recent fighting there. Meanwhile, the main warehouse in the city run by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), which held one month's worth of life-saving food and nutrition supplies for 220,000 people before the fighting erupted, has been looted.
A spokesperson for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that some non-critical staff from the Mission, as well as from UN agencies, funds and programmes, have been ordered to relocate temporarily “due to the recent fighting in Juba and subsequent associated operational challenges.”
But UNMISS and UN entities “will continue running critical operations to support the people of South Sudan, including protecting civilians and providing humanitarian assistance,” the spokesperson added.
According to WFP, UNMISS peacekeepers have reported extensive looting of food from the warehouse on the western edge of Juba, but WFP staff have not yet been able to reach the warehouse to confirm the extent of the losses. “WFP strongly condemns the theft of food intended for the poorest and most vulnerable people of South Sudan,” said WFP Deputy Regional Director Vernon Archibald. “While the extent of the looting is not yet clear, we fear that the loss of these vital food supplies will severely hamper WFP's ability to assist the tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes because of the violence,” he added.
The fighting between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition, which backs First Vice-President Riek Machar, reportedly killed some 272 people, including 33 civilians, and displaced at least 36,000 civilians.