Civilians have been fleeing the conflict between Sudanese government forces and rebels from the North Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM-North) in Sudan's South Kordofan region since June 2011. The only option for many displaced people is to seek refuge in the camp of Yida, just on the other side of the border in South Sudan. As Yida's population continues to grow, the camp's location has become a source of complex political tensions that increasingly threaten the condition of the refugees.
As South Sudan marks the first anniversary of its independence on July 9, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are struggling to save lives in one of the most complicated and challenging refugee crises in its history. Having arrived with stories of violence, some 100,000 Sudanese refugees, many of them ill, have sought sanctuary in camps in Upper Nile State with inadequate resources and harsh living conditions.
Southern Sudan was already an underdeveloped region in dire need of investment in essential services, including health care, when large numbers of people returned to vote in a referendum for secession in January 2011.