South Sudan looters steal food to feed 220,000 for a month- UN

 

Internally displaced people are gathered in a Catholic church in Malakal, South Sudan, January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu
 

GENEVA, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Looters in South Sudan have stolen more than 3,700 tonnes of food, enough to feed 220,000 people for a month, the World Food Programme said on Friday.

The U.N. agency’s warehouses in Malakal had been almost emptied, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. The agency was working to recover lost stocks wherever possible and trying to protect remaining stocks, she said.

The loss will hamper efforts to feed the 73,000 civilians who have taken refugee in U.N. bases as well as more than 200,000 refugees who have been relying on U.N. support in Upper Nile and Unity states since before the latest crisis began.

A total of 494,000 people have been uprooted across South Sudan, the United Nations says.

South Sudan’s government and rebels signed a ceasefire on Thursday to end more than five weeks of violence that divided Africa’s newest nation and brought it to the brink of civil war.[Reuters]