By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
May 15, 2012 (BENTIU) - Humanitarian agencies in South Sudan who are supporting refugees from conflicts in Sudan have warned that seasonal rains, which have already begun in some areas, will make existing bad conditions in refugee camps worse and restrict access to many areas and increase the risk of disease.
- UNHCR and WFP distributing non food items to Sudanese refugees as the rainy season approach in Yida Camp, Unity State, South Sudan. 15 May 2012 (ST)
A group of leading humanitarian agencies warned Tuesday of a deepening the current hunger crisis in the region and that many refugees will be trapped in unstable areas. Conflict in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States has forced 151,000 refugees to cross the border into South Sudan and Ethiopia.
In Yida refugee camp in South Sudan’s Unity State, the UN World Food Programme is erecting 10 stores to hold food before the rains begin to feed the 31,000 people there, who fled from the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.
UN agencies working in Yida say they have seen an increase in the number of people arriving in the camp and have seen conditions worsen.
Many of the those arriving are suffering from severe malnutrition as their livelihoods have been destroyed by fighting and they have been unable to grow crops.
Geoffrey Pinnock, WFP’s emergency officer in Yida told Sudan Tribune that on arrival children receive high energy biscuits and families received two weeks worth of food. After that they receive food once a month. During the raining season Yida will be cut off by road, so WFP is attempting to stock pile food to last until the roads are passable.
“For every month one single person will receive 15 kilograms of maize or sorghum, they will receive 1.5 kilograms of lentos or yellow peas and they will receive oil and salt as well so they cook, if they have a family of 10 they will receive ten times these ratios for one month”, said Pinnock.
CHILDREN SEPARATED FROM THEIR PARENTS
There are around 560 children in Yida refugee camp who have been separated from their parents, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Juraselem Tom Yassin a 17-year-old girl told Sudan Tribune on Sunday that she has lost contact with her parents since July 2011, describing life away from her parents in the refugee camp as "horrible." She said that her life in the Nuba Mountains before conflict was much better compared to living as a refugee without her parents and family.
Amjuma Ali Kuku, who is caring for the children, said many children run away from their parents due to frequent attacks by the Sudanese Army Forces in South Kordofan. She added that majority of the 560 children were aged between 5 and 17-years-old.
“I monitor these girls as my children because they are without parents, and then I managed them with their sisters like other people I put them in groups."
Kuku said, she received some help from Samaritan Purse International Relief for the setting up the hostel for children without parents in the refugee camp.
Yida camp has been the target of aerial bombardments from the Sudan Armed Forces in July 2011. The UN condemned the bombardments, which Khartoum denies. According to Hussein Algumbulla a leader of Nuba refugees in Yida the situation is now calm.
Hussein said there was an increase of refugees in Yida coming from South Kordofan. He added that more than 1,500 refugees arrived in Yida in the last two weeks due to fighting between the SPLA-N and the Sudanese government.