Launch of new nutritional project to support hard-hit older people in South Sudan

For immediate Release

Nairobi/Juba, Wednesday 27 May 2015:

HelpAge International and its partner Islamic Relief, on Wednesday 27 May 2015, launch a three year programme in Juba, South Sudan to support badly malnourished older people in Warrap State.

Funded by the German Government, the project will target to provide food vouchers and/or food baskets to older people in one of the most affected States by the ongoing internal conflict that has left more than 1.4 million people displaced.

According to Tendai Gunda, HelpAge International Nutritional Coordinator in South Sudan, the project will reach 210 households.

"Those able to walk to points where food centres will be stationed will get food vouchers while those found not able will get food basket delivered to them through", she said.

Tendai said 600 households will further receive training on nutrition. They will learn how to establish food gardens to improve their nutritional needs.

On the other hand, Islamic Relief will support the affected people with provision of water and sanitation services as well as food security and livelihood activities.

Selection criteria for the target group are their limited income opportunities and critical nutritional status. Due to ongoing conflicts and several other multiple stress factors, local support mechanisms stopped functioning hence need for this timely intervention.

Expected at the event include top Government officials as well as officials from the German Embassy in South Sudan.

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Background

The conflict in South Sudan has internally displaced over 1.4 million South Sudanese. People from the Greater Upper Nile (GUN) region (Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States) have been most severely affected. This has negatively impacted livestock and crop production, and markets, especially in the conflict-affected states.

These disruptions have in turn increased cereal prices by up to 300 per cent and reduced cereal stocks. In the worst affected counties in the GUN, as much as 80 per cent of the population was unable to cultivate staple crops in the last agricultural season and staple foods remain limited in many local markets. Overall, staple food stocks were depleted within the first quarter (January to March) of 2015. Approximately 112000 older persons were affected by the conflict.

The conflict in Unity has led to an influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) into Warrap, where the IDPs and the local population compete for the already scarce resources. According to OCHA-classification, Warrap is a "stressed state".

Further, the region has experienced heavy flooding in two consecutive years which caused widespread destruction of livelihood sources as well as communal support structures. Warrap state is built of six counties; the project will be implemented in Tonj North County.

About HelpAge International

The HelpAge network is a unique worldwide alliance of over 100 organisations in 65 countries. HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives.

For more information please visit www.helpage.org

Media Contacts:

Henry Neondo, Regional Communications Coordinator, East West Central Africa, +254703618872, henry.neondo@helpage.org, Skype: henry.neondo15

Tendai Gunda, Nutritional Coordinator for South Sudan, tendai.gunda@helpage.org, Skype: tendai.gunda +263773362352

Jamillah Mwanjisi: Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communication, East West Central Africa

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