As thousands of people flee the conflict in South Sudan’s northern border states, increasing numbers have also been forced to leave their homes and towns in search of affordable food.
As tension between South Sudan and Sudan continues in the South Sudanese northern areas of Unity, Upper Nile, Northern and Western Bahr al Ghazal states, the conflict has more than doubled the price of basic commodities, making it difficult for many here to afford.
In the border town of Bentiu, the price of a 50-kilogramme sack of sorghum has increased from 10 dollars to 24, while a kilogramme of sugar has tripled from one to three dollars.
“A 20 litre jerry can of cooking oil rose from 20 to 40 dollars in the last two weeks,” said Simon Kenyi, a teacher in Bentiu.
“Traders who used to bring in these goods from Elobeid in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state are unable to do so now because the border is closed,” he added.
For the last month, traders who usually import foodstuffs from Southern Kordofan in Sudan have been victims of violence along the route to South Sudan. Many have stopped trying to cross the border altogether.
The rapid increase in prices of consumer goods has forced residents of Bentiu, which is the capital of Unity state, to flee to towns in South Sudan’s greater Equatoria region, where consumer goods imported from East Africa are in abundance and relatively cheaper. The southern states of Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria share borders with the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
“Many people here are moving their families to Juba and Yei, in Central Equatoria state, because they can no longer afford food,” Bonifacio Taban, a local journalist in Bentiu, said. Read more…