By Candia Stephen
Yumbe. There was excitement, joy and hope among hundreds of vulnerable refugees at Bidibidi Zone B settlement camp on Sunday following distribution of relief items donated by Japanese friends.
Some of them were facing starvation after the acute food rationing affected the lives of the South Sudan refugees in Yumbe district. On Sunday, Japanese Friends donated five tons of beans, 10 tons of posho, 20 boxes of exercise books, two boxes of pens and two boxes of assorted drugs worth 3580 Dollars were handed over to 1000-Persons with Specific Needs( PSN).
One of those needy refugees, the 13 year-old Margaret Kiden, said she is looking after her four younger brothers after they lost their father in the war in South Sudan and the mother consequently ran mad. Expressed happiness over the donation,
She says food remains a major challenge for them since UNHCR and OPM only give 12 kilograms of flour and two kilograms of beans per month. World Food program has since cut food aid by half due to financial constraints and lack of commitment by the world leaders to contribute towards management of the refugees.
Atsuyoshi Saka, the president of Core LLC in Osaka, Japan, who led a team of five Japanese friends to Bidibidi camp expressed concern over the challenges of food shortage and poor infrastructures in the camps and they could not wait but pay a visit to the camp.
Atsuyoshi Saka distributing drugs to some of the refugees in the camp. All Photos by Candia Stephen.
Hakim Joseph Nelson, chairperson village 4 in Bidibidi Zone II says the assistance given by the Japanese friends will help bridge the food gap and uplift the morale of the vulnerable groups of people in the camp,
“We have hunger here in the camp and we are appealing to the agencies to increase for us the amount of food so that it covers us for a full month,” Hakim said.
While receiving the Japanese friends at Bidibidi Zone B food distribution camp, the Assistant Settlement Commandant, Christopher Angualia, appreciated the donation and said many single pregnant mothers, elderly persons who do not have relatives, child headed families and the sickly were earmarked for the relief.
He added that Bidibidi settlement camp has 19,000 cases of extremely vulnerable persons but the relief items would only be given to 1,000 persons since it could not cover the all.
Some of the refugees receiving the food from Japanese Friends.
According to Angualia, the most pressing challenges in the camps include poor infrastructure characterized by temporary schools and health center structures, congestion in classrooms and inadequate food supplies.
“This is the first of its kind for us to receive support from private people and I urge you to come again,” Christopher said.
Moses Lubang, chairperson cluster two says many, would be beneficiaries have been left out due to poor registration of the refugees, which has led to so many names missing on the register,
Bidibidi refugee camp has 39 partners engaged in coordinating, implementing and cooperating on refugee issues and eight sectors including health, education, environment among others.