SOUTH SUDAN’S REFUGEE CAMPS CONTINUE TO GROW
As conflict simmers, more forced out of their homes
Courtesy of UNifeed
As the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan continues to simmer, more and more civilians continue to be driven out of their homes and forced into cramped refugee camps. In Yusuf Batil, a camp in South Sudan near the Ethiopian border, more than 100 refugees arrive each day. The camp now holds over 38,000 residents.
Oumi, a Sudanese refugee currently living in Yusuf Batil, described the hardship of her journey from Sudan across the border and into the camp.
“I left my home because of the war and the fighting,” she told a representative of UNHCR. “While we were living there we had goats, sheep, cattle, we were farmers. We left everything behind when we ran away. There was infantry, artillery, shooting in the village and a lot of bombardments from planes.”
She said that the family, consisting of herself, a husband and an infant child, were on the move for three months, with little food or shelter. On the way, the husband fell ill and died, and she gave birth to another child.
Oumi, and her children make up just one of the almost 9,000 households in Yusuf Batil that are serviced by UNHCR. The agency provides housing, food, and other necessities for them, and helps them weather the terrible storm that they face before they can be returned to their homes.
The dispute between Sudan and South Sudan is one of the longest lasting and most violent conflicts in recent history. When the two countries were still united, they fought a civil war over the course of twenty years that left four million displaced and two million dead – the highest death toll of any conflict since World War II.
Today, sixteen months after the South declared its independence, the two countries remain at odds over border disputes and oil rights – most Sudan’s oilfields are located in the South, but refineries are in the North, as is access to the sea for trade outside of Africa.