Turkish aid agency distributes food in South Sudan

Turkey’s state-run aid body, Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) on Wednesday distributed food to thousands of internally displaced people in South Sudan.

TIKA is here today with the [South Sudanese] Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, and Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) to distribute some food for IDPs," TIKA Representative to South Sudan Yahya Acu told Anadolu Agency during a distribution ceremony in Juba.

"This is a gift from the Turkish government," Acu said.

"In total, we are targeting 1,100 families. We have various food items, maize flour, rice, bean, cooking oil and salt," he added.

Edina Natana, who spoke on the behalf of hundreds of IDP families, shared her gratitude with Anadolu Agency.

"We thank TIKA organization and the Turkish government for assisting us with food items, which will help us," Natana said.

"I thank them for being thoughtful about us. May God bless them, and empower them to donate more things to us," she added.

'Christmas gift'

Gatwech Peter Kulang, the undersecretary of South Sudan's Ministry of Humanitarian affairs and Disaster Management received the donation on behalf of the government, describing it as a "great gift during Christmas season".

"We are honored to receive these great donations from the government and the people of Turkey through TIKA," Kulang said.

Hasan Sevilir Asan, Turkish ambassador to Juba, said he was expecting more help from TIKA to the hungry people of South Sudan.

"As the Turkish ambassador to Juba, I am so happy to see TIKA working and helping South Sudanese. We are expecting more from the Turkish agency to help more South Sudanese people who are in need," Asan said.

The food aid was distributed in Gonji and Bonji counties of Jubek State, which is home to thousands of people displaced by the civil war which broke out in 2013.

Years of civil war, a refugee crisis and a collapsing economy have taken their toll on South Sudan which declared famine in February.

Almost 5 million people, more than 40% of the country's population, are in need of urgent help with another 1 million people on the brink of famine, according to aid agencies.