Some 2,500 refugees from Sudan’s troubled South Kordofan state have arrived in the towns of Kodok and Lelo, in Fashoda and Malakal counties in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, in need of humanitarian assistance.
Many of the displaced are women and children. They have walked from five to ten days, fleeing from their homes in Warni and Kau-Nyaro, in southeast South Kordofan state. Some explained they had left their homes due to the ongoing conflict and growing lack of food after two consecutive poor harvest seasons, as well as limited supply routes.
“We did not have food and, despite the risk of being attacked on the way, we arrived in Lelo hoping to find something to eat for ourselves and some to take back home for the children who were too weak to make the walk,” explained Ms. Baria El Kik, who arrived at Lelo during the month of September. “Many more people are expected to arrive but it is taking time because of the heavy rains and difficult road conditions,” she added.
One of the main concerns of the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team is the nutritional status of these women and children. They are already weak when they arrive and without humanitarian assistance their condition will only worsen. In Kodok, more than 200 children under five years of age are now receiving treatment in the ambulatory therapeutic feeding program. MSF medical teams are carrying out mobile clinics on a weekly basis, monitoring the health status of the population and providing primary health care to the most vulnerable population.
In addition to medical assistance, MSF is lobbying other stakeholders to assure that proper and swift action is taken to assist the newly arrived communities.