News Room / News and Events
Islamic Relief Concerned about South Sudan
03 October 2011
South Sudanese returnees look over a bicycle in South Sudan - UN Photo/Paul Banks
“Both natural and manmade disasters such as tribal conflicts, floods and disease outbreaks... are the primary humanitarian concerns in South Sudan”, Islamic Relief aid worker Najat Elhamri
Islamic Relief is concerned about the growing number of humanitarian issues in South Sudan. Flash flooding, ongoing fighting and an influx of people returning from North Sudan continue to put pressure on the newly independent state.
The UN is warning that these problems could contribute to severe food shortages next year and estimates that 1.2 million people could be affected.
“Both natural and manmade disasters, such as tribal conflicts, floods and disease outbreaks like cholera, meningitis and malaria are the primary humanitarian concerns in South Sudan”, said Najat Elhamri, an Islamic Relief aid worker.
In the town of Agok around 10,000 people have been displaced by flooding caused by heavy rain in early September. Access to food, water and medicine for those affected is a major concern, along with the spread of malaria, which is very common in the region during the rainy season.
Most of the people affected have already been displaced from their homes by the conflict in Abyei - over 70,000 are reported to have fled fighting there. They are people who were dependent on food aid even before the floods.
Although Agok is the worst hit thousands of people have been affected by flooding in Terkeka and Juba County.
“Many communities do not have access to minimum services in terms of health, water, sanitation and education. NGOs offering these services are faced with funding constraints and find it difficult to provide emergency response due to poor infrastructure and lack of security”, added Najat.
Internal tribal conflict is also causing major problems for people in the region, raising further humanitarian concerns.
Thousands have been either displaced or killed as a result of tribes and communities fighting over water and cattle. In August over 600 people were killed in Jonglei after a conflict broke out between tribes after a cattle raid.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by such internal fighting, creating a substantial population without the means to adequately provide for themselves.
Since January, South Sudan has also seen a return of over 350,000 people who had originally fled fighting in the region. People are still arriving, some of them by barges, and there are reports of children travelling back to South Sudan alone. The people returning are mostly poor and there is already a lack of jobs in the country.
“Any assistance that NGOs or other agencies provide must focus on mid to long term solutions with a special focus on education, public health and food security”, added Najat.
In South Sudan, Islamic relief has been focusing on water, sanitation and health education and services. Islamic Relief has had a presence in East Africa for a number of years and has activities across the region.