From the field: Country director reports on the situation in South Sudan

Burning home in Abyei. REUTERS/Stuart Price
Smoke rises from burnt homes in Abyei town. REUTERS/Stuart Price

Independence Day is approaching for South Sudan, but the situation is far from the celebration millions had hoped for. Tension continues in and around the border region of Abyei. An estimated 80,000 people have fled the fighting.

Some of those who have fled homes that were burned in Abyei are beginning to arrive in the areas where we work. Others are returning from the north before the nation splits.

World Concern Sudan Country Director Peter Macharia says skyrocketing food and fuel prices are creating a humanitarian crisis, and if things don’t change soon, shipments from the north may stop all together.

Here’s more of Peter’s report from the field.

As you may have heard from the news, many people are coming out of Abyei but with very little. Some were only able to salvage and carry with them some of their household belongings. In their new destinations, some of these people are being forced to sell their belongings to survive. This crisis is complicating an already complex problem.

We are giving out food to people that have been displaced from Abyei. So far, we have provided food to almost 4,000 people who have moved to Western Bahr el Ghazal State. We are issuing them with a one month ration of food, which includes sorghum, beans, oil and salt. Other immediate support that these people need include mosquito nets, cooking sets, soap, blankets, buckets and jerrycans.

Those displaced from Abyei and those returning from the north require urgent help to start their lives once again. Some have vowed never to go back, but even those who may want to stay for a little while before they decide if they will go back, will also need help. They have no idea of when they will able to return to their former homes.

This crisis may run for long, bearing in mind that South Sudan is becoming a new country on July 9, and the Abyei contention seems like it has just began.

As agencies, we are also feeling the pain of the Abyei effects. Fuel is in great shortage. Currently in Wau where we have our Bahr el Ghazal office, we are buying petrol and diesel for $4.20 a liter. The main problem is even getting it. If things don’t change, we will be grounded and the greatest crisis will be lack of transport.

Food prices are on the increase. All these have been brought about by the closure of the road connecting the north and the south along the Abyei area. It is important to note that most of the food and products in the south are imported from the north.

This is a planting season and it will be unfortunate if the farmers fail to plant their farms. This may lead to serious famine next year.

The crisis in Sudan is escalating just as the hunger gap is beginning. This period of time between stored food running out and the next harvest typically requires additional aid. This year, the situation is much worse.

You can help us respond to this crisis by providing emergency food and supplies to families who have fled their homes. Click here to donate.

 

Published by

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt

Cathy Herholdt is World Concern's Marketing and Communications Director. With a background in journalism, Cathy honed her writing skills as a newspaper editor and now enjoys sharing the inspiring stories of those World Concern serves. She has served with World Concern since 2010.

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