....to JusticeGhana Group

 Welcome to JusticeGhana

JusticeGhana is a Non-Governmental [and-not-for- profit] Organization (NGO) with a strong belief in Justice, Security and Progress....” More Details

Sudanese refugees struggle without enough food and water


Sudanese refugees struggle without enough food and water

Border conflict continues between rebels and Sudanese forces

While talks between the two neighboring countries falter, aid agencies working on the border between Sudan and South Sudan say food and water shortages already exist for the 100,000 refugees in the conflict zone...More Details

In a dried up watering hole, dozens of women and children are digging into the cracked earth to extract water. Standing waist deep, they scoop water from the pits and fill their containers, one cup at a time.

There is a water shortage here in Jamam refugee camp, where people from Blue Nile state in Sudan have fled across the border into South Sudan to escape war and hunger. Macda Doka Waka says it takes two or three hours to fill a container, but it's better than waiting in line at water distribution points.

"We used to line up and fetch water from the tap, but now - two days in a row - we didn't get any water, and that's why all of us have shifted here," she said. "Too many people are fighting at the water point, so we came here because we don't want to fight."

Aid agencies struggling

Aid agencies like Oxfam are drilling boreholes here but the drills often don't hit water. Somestimes the boreholes collapse, because the earth does not have the right consistency. Oxfam also brings water in trucks to distribution points where people queue up for hours to receive just the bare minimum for survival.

Daudi Makamba, a public health engineer with Oxfam, said each of the refugees currently receives about six liters of water per day, which is enough for basic survival. The ideal is 15 liters per person per day, which would provide enough for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.

The 37,000 people in Jamam are among more than 100,000 refugees who have fled into South Sudan. They come mainly from the Sudanese states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the Khartoum government is currently fighting an insurgency. The conflict has involved an aerial bombing campaign that has hit civilians as well as rebels.

A race against time

Aid agencies are struggling to provide for the recent arrivals in Jamam, especially as the rainy season approaches. When the rains come, roads will become difficult to use and the only way to get food and other supplies to the refugees will be by air, which will cost three times as much as it does now, according to Oxfam.

"We are rushing to get food in," said Hy Shelow, a senior protection officer with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. "You can't predict the weather, but at the moment it seems we do have enough time. If the rains start heavy and early we may face some challenges though."

Shelow said UNHCR is providing food based on the current estimate of about 1,000 arrivals per week. The UN and the United States government have warned that hundreds of thousands of refugees could flood over the border in the coming months as food runs out in the conflict zone.

Situation in Blue Nile now 'really bad'

The US and British governments both issued statements last week demanding that Sudan stop bombing civilians and allow aid groups access to rebel-controlled areas. They also urged South Sudan to end military support to the rebels who are part of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement. The group fought alongside southerners in a two-decade civil war that resulted in the south splitting into a separate country.

After South Sudan's independence last July, the SPLM left in Sudan added "North" to its name, declared itself a separate political party and ran candidates in state elections. The SPLM-N's leader in Blue Nile, Malik Agar, was voted governor. But Khartoum banned the SPLM-N and deposed Malik in September, sparking renewed conflict.

Sheikh El Rathi Rajab is a former SPLM-N member of the state parliament. He fled Sudan after his party was banned and now lives in Jamam. He says conditions in Blue Nile are "really bad" due to the daily bombing raids by government planes. "There is no food and those who are injured by the planes can't get treatment. There are no medical facilities," he said.

Meanwhile, the accusation of "ethnic cleansing" remains. Anoor Abudik Said is a tribal chief who came to Jamam with members of his community three months ago. He says the government of Omar al-Bashir favors the lighter skinned Arab population and is using aerial bombardment to drive darker skinned people like him out of the country.

"Omar says he doesn't want black people in Blue Nile," he said. "He wants to finish all of us and that's why he's bombing us."

Author: Jared Ferrie, Jamam, South Sudan /al

Editor: Daniel Pelz / rm

Source: Deutsche Welle



 1000 Characters left

Antispam Refresh image Case sensitive

JusticeGhana Group *All Rights Reserved © 2007-2013*Privacy Policy