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South Sudan: Report from a refugee camp

Doomed despite freedom

Our emergency aid for refugees in South Sudan

(11.07.) It looked so hopeful: Three years ago, to much jubilation, the flag of South Sudan was raised for the very first time. The world had a new country. Today, however, little remains of that peace and unity between ethnic groups: violence, hunger and disease all threaten the population. More than one million people are fleeing within their own country. We are providing emergency aid, as you will see in our current video!

In the Bentiu refugee camp

Tired and exhausted, but nevertheless happy about the parcels she is carrying on her head, Elisabeth Nyamuch enters her self-built home. She doesn’t put away the salt ration and the sacks of lentils, sorghum and millet immediately, but first stokes the fire in order to bake flatbread for herself and her children. She had waited in line for hours to receive the food – every day more and more people are seeking refuge in the hectic and packed camp. There are currently over 45,000 refugees.

Video: Follow the emergency aid team at work in the Bentiu refugee camp in South Sudan!

Many camps are hard to reach – they lie in combat zones

Here in the north of South Sudan, attacks and fighting take place day in, day out. After a bomb blast in the town, Bentiu has been completely abandoned. The residents fled to safer refugee camps. The rainy season in South Sudan has just begun, making the already difficult situation much harder. Transport routes have turned into muddy swamps – the camps are almost only accessible by air.

Emergency aid for South Sudan: millet, salt, cooking oil and baby food

“The most urgent things needed by the people here are water, latrines, shelter and food. They scoop water from drains, which leads to diarrhoea and other illnesses. Welthungerhilfe helps primarily in alleviating hunger and securing food. Each month we distribute around 600 to 700 tons of food to the entire camp population”, reports Kelvin Shingles, Welthungerhilfe’s country coordinator in South Sudan.

The rainy season exacerbates the emergency situation: roads turn into mud and puddles. © Brockmann
The rainy season exacerbates the emergency situation: roads turn into mud and puddles. © Brockmann
The queues of newly-arrived refugees are long. They wait in line to register. © Brockmann?
The queues of newly-arrived refugees are long. They wait in line to register. © Brockmann?
Refugees receive grain, lentils, cooking oil and salt. Here you see the filling up of the salt ration. © Brockmann
Refugees receive grain, lentils, cooking oil and salt. Here you see the filling up of the salt ration. © Brockmann
Together with the World Food Programme, Welthungerhilfe is supporting the refugees around Bentiu. © Brockmann
Together with the World Food Programme, Welthungerhilfe is supporting the refugees around Bentiu. © Brockmann
Meagre meals: The women prepare the roots and herbs they have collected around the camp. © Brockmann
Meagre meals: The women prepare the roots and herbs they have collected around the camp. © Brockmann
A helicopter built by children out of mud. Many camps are only accessible by air. © Brockmann
A helicopter built by children out of mud. Many camps are only accessible by air. © Brockmann

Three years after foundation of the state – is the next famine looming?

In South Sudan, with more than one million displaced persons, almost nothing is being grown. The farmers – having fled or been displaced – have not been able to tend their fields or harvest crops this year. Kelvin Shingles is very concerned: there is a threat that the next harvest will also fail. The impending catastrophe seems to be pre-programmed. “Even cultivating something to help themselves is almost impossible for the people here. There is a real threat of a period of famine in 2015, particularly in the contested regions”, believes Shingles.

Support our work with your donations! 

In South Sudan, people like Elisabeth Nyamuch need immediate and long-term emergency aid – so that they can head, strengthened, towards the future.

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Current reports
Airdrops - Aid from the air

Airdrops - Aid from the air

How and where we are supporting refugees in South Sudan

Airdrops - how Welthungerhilfe provides refugees in South Sudan with food and aid packages from the air.

Blog: An aid worker in South Sudan

Blog: An aid worker in South Sudan

Aid workers and refugees are nervous and tense

Jürgen Mika from the Welthungerhilfe emergency aid team reports from his work in a refugee camp in South Sudan.

Further information

Hunger and poverty
The core issue for Welthungerhilfe

Disasters and conflicts
Fast and effective aid