Khartoum/Nairobi/Geneva, 19 July 2018 – Tens of thousands of people displaced by the conflict in South Sudan are in “desperate” need of humanitarian assistance and care, says the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy.
Mr Sy was speaking following a visit to Sudan’s White Nile State, near the border with South Sudan and home to 150,000 people displaced by the conflict.
“What I saw was major and unmet humanitarian needs among people who fled their homes,” said Mr Sy. “I met with families who told me that told me stories of separation, loss, grief, and of not knowing what has happened to family members. The solidarity and hospitality of local communities in White Nile are heartening. Both hosts and refugees desperately need protection, care and support.”
Since the conflict in South Sudan started in late 2013, more than 2.4 million South Sudanese have fled in search of safety in neighbouring countries. Of these, around 760,000 have crossed into Sudan.
Most of the refugees in White Nile are living in camps set up by local authorities and international aid groups, and thousands of returnees and other displaced people are living in precarious informal settlements. The Sudanese Red Crescent, alongside the UN, has been supporting about 90,000 people with water, sanitation, health and emergency shelter, and is distributing food to 154,000 people. The Red Crescent also runs three primary health care centres in the camps.
Mr Sy visited several sites in White Nile where the Sudanese Red Crescent has been providing services, including safe spaces for women and children.
“Our work here is crucial, and it is far from over. The Sudanese Red Crescent is one of the key humanitarian actors in White Nile and throughout Sudan. I was moved to see the passion and commitment of hard-working Red Crescent volunteers.”
These efforts have been hindered by a lack of funding. Only about 3 per cent of the 4.1 million Swiss francs that IFRC is appealing for in Sudan has been received. This lack of support is placing healthcare and water and sanitation services under strain. IFRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent are very concerned about the high prevalence of diseases such as malaria.
“I urge the international community to support our response efforts in Sudan,” said Osman Jafar Abdullah, Secretary General of the Sudanese Red Crescent. “We cannot fail the people who have lost everything and desperately want to recover their dignity and live in peace.”