Armed men looting a warehouse (UN photo)

(NRC)

Two warehouses managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Mirmir and Padeah, in Unity State, have been attacked and looted in at least four incidents over the last two weeks, depriving at least 23,000 people in desperate need of aid,” according to a press release from NRC this morning.

This happens at a time of increasing violence in the state with reports of untold atrocities against civillians and aid workers fleeing with their families.

“This incidents deprive more people in desperate need of food aid as we are worried that more of our ware houses might be targeted in the coming days,” said Kennedy Mabonga, NRC’s Country Director in South Sudan.

The release further stated that this month two humanitarians were killed in separate incidents and branded vehicles shot at.

“The attacks and looting of humanitarian aid are unacceptable and severely limit the ability of aid workers to deliver assistance to the people who need it most. At a time when South Sudan is facing unprecedented humanitarian needs, every bag of food stolen from our warehouses is directly snatched from a family that desperately needs it,” Mabonga said.

The prevailing violence against aid workers is already hindering the humanitarian response, particularly in preparing supplies before the start of the rainy season.

“We call on those involved in the violence, whether perpetrating it or encouraging it, to stop immediately. We ask the government of South Sudan and local authorities to investigate these incidents with the utmost urgency and seriousness, to prevent any further attacks on aid workers and to ensure that we can reach the most vulnerable people with aid.”

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This year more than 8 million people in South Sudan will be in need of humanitarian assistance, including due to a worsening food security situation in which more than half of the country will have acute needs. Last year NRC assisted more than 800,000 people in South Sudan to support livelihoods and food security, education, information counselling and legal assistance, protection, shelter, water provision, building resilience among communities and emergency response to flooding and conflict related displacement.