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