News / Africa

South Sudan's Aid Workers Concerned About Flood of Sudanese Refugees

South Sudan's Aid Workers Concerned About Flood of Sudanese Refugeesi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Hannah McNeish
September 12, 2012 5:18 PM
South Sudan’s Upper Nile state is now home to more than 100,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile state, where conflict has raged between government forces and insurgents for more than a year. Hannah McNeish reports for VOA from Yusuf Batil camp that the United Nations says that widespread problems of malnutrition and disease are slowly improving, but it fears that another influx could quickly undo gains at remote and waterlogged refugee camps.
Hannah McNeish
South Sudan’s Upper Nile state is now home to more than 100,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile state, where conflict has raged between government forces and insurgents for more than a year. The United Nations says that widespread problems of malnutrition and disease are slowly improving. But it fears that another influx, when heavy rains abate, could quickly undo gains as charities struggle to maintain services in remote and waterlogged refugee camps.

At a watering point in Yusuf Batil camp in South Sudan, some of the 35,000 residents make the daily trek to fill jerry cans for washing, cooking and cleaning.

To get about half the 20-liter ration recommended daily, they must trek through masses of sticky, sometimes ankle-deep mud.

Challenges abound as agencies ramp up

While fewer people are now suffering from malnutrition, many are still getting sick from diarrheal diseases and even hepatitis E - because of the human waste mixed into the unavoidable sludge.

A girl walks through mud to get water at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.A girl walks through mud to get water at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
x
A girl walks through mud to get water at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
A girl walks through mud to get water at the Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
​George Okoth-Obbo, head of the Africa division for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR], said the situation here is becoming more stable. But he also said relief agencies must continue to scale up operations in expectation of another influx of refugees.

“And as we know all that, it is very possible that once the rains stop, more people will be coming into the country and potentially into this camp," said Okoth-Obbo. "So it’s an imperative of not only stabilizing the situation as we have now, but indeed while doing that to be preparing for more as well.”

Food, security among chief concerns

The local leaders among the refugees say many families left older or weaker members behind, because they could not make the journey. Those family members, along with others trapped by conflict or rains, are expected to try to cross into South Sudan soon.

Refugee leader Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Fadul wants his people to stay close to the aid agencies - not just for services, but also for security.

“We are used to hearing gunshots in some of the corners of the camp over there, there, there and here, and we don’t know why,” he said.

At the monthly food distribution site, refugees pay a precious part of their grain ration to get their food transported by camel, since the rain makes the trek back to their tents too difficult.

Donors, international assistance sought

UNHCR says malnutrition has dropped from around 40 percent to 26 percent, with severe cases now affecting one in 10 people, especially children.

Stanlake Samkange, the East and Central Africa Director for the U.N's World Food Program [WFP], said the situation improved mainly due airdrops of food - a costly last resort - but could quickly worse again if more refugees arrive, and unless more funding is found.

“My biggest concern is that if this number increases significantly, then it will add pressure on our efforts, the efforts of UNHCR and other partners, and we will need the support and assistance of donors and the international community to do that,” said Samkange.

As the sun sets on the food-distribution site, the UNHCR remains concerned that finding $20 million now could mean “a matter of life or death” for some of these refugees, not to mention those still stuck in war-ravaged Blue Nile as food becomes even more scarce.

You May Like

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid