June 6 marked one year since the Sudanese government began attacking its own people in the Nuba Mountains and Upper Nile regions....
A continued Government campaign of bombing and violence has forced people to make a desperate choice - hide in the caves where food and water are running out or make the dangerous trek across the border to one of the refugee camps, where Samaritan’s Purse is working.
Over the past year, around 170,000 refugees have fled the Nuba Mountains and Upper Nile regions of Sudan to seek refuge in camps across the border in South Sudan. For the past six months, Samaritan's Purse has been working to avert critical disaster.
But the people arriving in Yida refugee camp today are in worse physical shape than before and the conditions of these camps is worsening by the day, with water and food starting to run out. What’s more, seasonal rains have now arrived - making conditions in the refugee camps worse, making travel to the refugee camps treacherous, and making access for aid to get to the camps even more difficult.
The refugees have been unable to plant and tend crops due back in Sudan, due to the ongoing campaign of bombing, a major cause of their influx across the border. What’s more, there is the very real possibility that tensions between Sudan and South Sudan could escalate further.
“If this conflict escalates into full-scale war, it will cause unimaginable suffering for countless innocent civilians,” Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham said, following a recent trip to the region where he saw firsthand the suffering of the Nuban people.
“We found scores of people, mostly women and children, hiding in caves in the rugged hills,” he said. “Their living conditions are deplorable. They are eating whatever they can find to survive—insects, grub worms, tree bark, roots—and everyone has dysentery.”
Each day, several hundred more refugees are arriving at Yida, Doro and Jamam refugee camps. As one of the few aid agencies working in this part of South Sudan, Samaritan's Purse is providing food, water, medical care, sanitation, shelters, and other support to thousands of these refugees.
Since last summer, we have provided emergency relief for people fleeing what many have termed ethnic cleansing and genocide. The Arab government of Sudan has been accused of targeting the people in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile because of the color of their skin, because some are Christian, and because they back a rebel movement.
Time to take action
Following his return from a visit to South Sudan in May, Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington called on the UK Government to take action before it is too late.
“I’m outraged that more isn’t being done by the international community to act now to prevent this crisis,” said Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington. “I’m calling on the UK Government to act now and to act decisively to raise the profile of this issue within the International Community and to work tirelessly for peace in the region and a return home for the refugees.”
You can read his statement in full here or watch his video blos from his trip to South Sudan here.