At least five households from the Jie community in Kapoeta East County, Eastern Equatoria State, have arrived in Kapoeta town in search of food and water.
This comes amid acute food and water shortages in the remote part of the state, according to officials.
An official and some of the families — who spoke to Singaita FM — say the situation has worsened, with four people dead, so far. They expect more families to flee the calamity.
Loriko Lorika, 45, who just arrived in the town with his five wives and eight children, say they sleep in the open at Kopeta town market.
“We have no money to rent a house. As a result, I am appealing to the government and well-wishers to provide my family with food and non-food items, especially mats and mosquito nets,” said Lorika.
He explained that it took them four days to reach Kapoeta town on foot.
Another arrival, Longokuo Lokwam, told this media out let that she arrived in the town with her five children at the weekend.
“We came here for help, but my children are now just roaming in the town looking for food. I am calling for humanitarian support,” the 40-year-old said.
For her part, Namunyen Loriko expressed fears saying the drought and famine is likely to claim lots of lives among those still in the area should no one intervene.
“I came here yesterday to see if I could get support. I have nowhere to sleep now. We are really dying; our government should help us,” he added.
When contacted, Kapoeta East County Commissioner Abdallah Lokeno confirmed the situation, saying four people have died from the situation, so far.
He claimed that NGOs tried to drill for water in the area, in vain, because the water wells have run dry.
“…an Islamic relief NGO tried its level best to drill water, but it could not get water in four areas. There is water in the ground,” Lokeno added.
Lack of food and clean drinking water has been one of the major problem facing Jie community areas in Kapoeta East County, an area that reportedly faces drought and famine annually.
There has been no census since South Sudan gained independence in July 2011. However, the 2008 census shows that Kapoeta East has population of 163,997. Out of this number, 70,000 people are Jie people.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs and the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission are yet to comment on the matter.