Humanitarian emergency for refugees and IDPs of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile

 By Neroun Phillip,  Executive director-Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency, January 17, 2014

The conflict in South Sudan since December 15th, 2013, has brought terrible suffering for hundreds of thousands of IDPs in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and refugees in Upper Nile and Unity States, who fled to South Sudan to escape the war in Sudan. Their plight is adding to the humanitarian emergency in South Sudan and requires immediate attention.

The fighting in South Sudan has interrupted most land and river transport to both South Kordofan and Blue Nile, leaving thousands of IDPs without food and medicines. After a poor harvest due to a limited rainy season and intense insecurity in the two areas, IDPs rely almost entirely on food coming from outside. In Blue Nile the situation is particularly critical and SRRA warns that if food and medicines are not delivered immediately to the over 100,000 IDPs in the area, hundreds will die of hunger and diseases in the next months.

Supplies brought by boat from Juba-Adok-Lier to the Nuba refugees in Yida in Unity State and Juba-Bor-Malakal to the Blue Nile refugees in Maban county in Upper Nile, have also stopped. The roads between Juba-Rumbek-Bentiu-Yida and Juba-Bor-Malakal-Maban are extremely insecure, since these areas are now currently the scene of fighting between the Government of South Sudan and the insurgents.

The already desperate humanitarian situation of the almost 250,000 refugees from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile has been exacerbated by the evacuation of most international aid staff working for INGOs and the UN. Around 1,200 new refugees who arrived in Yida to escape the recent fighting in Western Kadugli have not received any assistance as the process of registration has been halted. More are expected to follow them, since the Government of Sudan has begun its summer offensive against the SPLM/A-North across the border in Sudan.

The Director of the SRRA warns that the IDPs and the refugees are facing disaster. “If the fighting continues we will soon face a humanitarian catastrophe. We call on the international community to help the Sudanese citizens trapped in the two areas and the refugees who have already fled from fighting in their own country, only to be trapped in yet another cycle of violence.”
The SRRA is also deeply concerned for the security of the refugees given the proximity of the fighting in both Upper Nile and Unity state. This conflict could easily engulf these camps.

Finally, the SRRA calls on all its former comrades in South Sudan to sign an immediate cease-fire to allow for the relief of Sudanese and South Sudanese citizens in need, and to find a political solution to the crisis.
The SRRA also reiterate the readiness of the SPLM/A-North to sign a cease-fire with the Government of Sudan and to begin political negotiations in Addis Ababa.