South Sudan air drops provide needed food, but not for everyone in need

JUBA, South Sudan -- Hope for the village of Maar is pinned on the skies. 

The scorched South Sudan village has not had food for six months.

Jubilant laborers hired for the day rushed to help sort the supplies dropped by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

It’s too dangerous to bring food to Maar by road, so air drops are the only way to get some kind of nutrition to this community.

Food is the latest weapon in this civil war, where aid convoys are regularly ambushed by warring militias.

Despite months of waiting, villagers line up patiently to get their food, including Nyaruach Chuol. The 110-pound bag of sorghum and beans weighs about the same as she does.

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Nyaruach Chuol takes her bag of air-dropped food back to her family

CBS News

The food will help feed her family of 10, now facing a cholera outbreak on top of the food shortages. Her father Chuol Jotijiok is wasting away.

“I have a sore stomach. There is nothing to eat but leaves and fruit. Sometimes I have nothing,” he said.

But not everyone gets help.

Ujiwami Beil Bol is new to the region and not registered with the Red Cross. She fled the fierce fighting 300 miles away.

“We were sleeping and then the war came to us,” Bol said. “I saw the soldiers shoot my children and burn my house to the ground.”

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Ujiwami Beil Bol, left, walked fr 24 days with her children to reach safety

CBS News

Heavily pregnant, she fled with her two surviving children, walking for 24 days to find safety. Amazingly, she gave birth to a healthy boy in the bush along the way.

But Bol’s gamble didn’t work; There is no extra food.

“I don’t know anyone here. I just sit under a tree and hope people will help me,” she said.

Everyone here already has too many hungry stomachs to fill. There just isn’t room for one more.