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Tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting in South Kordofan

13.06.11

There continues to be a severe humanitarian crisis involving tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting in South Kordofan. According to the latest reports the numbers of displaced persons arriving in both El Obeid and Er Rahad are increasing hour by hour. The number of IDPs is increasing by roughly 60 to 100 persons an hour in Er Rahad and 250 - 300 persons an hour in El Obeid.

As a result of the Sudanese Government policy of prohibiting the construction of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), the displaced are roaming around in both towns, settling in open yards and empty houses. IDPs are continuously arriving in small minicabs, lorries, and heavy trucks in what is a very difficult journey as a result of the rains which are blocking the roads in South Kordofan.

The IDPs are telling horrifying stories about the places they have come from and very few civilians currently remain inside Kadugli. There are reportedly dead bodies remaining unburied around the city. These bodies have started to decompose and there is a fear of cholera spreading among the remaining civilians, some of whom have gathered around the UN compound.

Reports indicate that the SAF (Sudan Armed Forces) and SPLM-North continue to fight for control of Kadugli, with each side controlling part of the city. The road from Kadugli up to Deling on the way to El Obeid is reportedly unsafe and vehicles are traveling in escorted convoys. Fighting is reported to continue in many areas in South Kordofan including: Dalami, Um Brembita, Abu Karshoula in the Eastern Nuba mountains and Kadugli, Deling, Salara in the Western Nuba mountains.

Rains in El Obeid and Er Rahad have already started and there is an immediate need for shelter, food, blankets, mats and cooking utensils. Sadly the Sudanese Government and the international community are continuing to fail to provide humanitarian assistance for the tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting in South Kordofan. The humanitarian emergency is on the verge of becoming a humanitarian disaster as a result of the lack of assistance being provided to the displaced civilians.

Statement issued by SUDO (UK) on 12th June 2011.
Contact andrew.SUDO.UK@gmail.com for any further information.

June 11th update:
The Sudanese Government and international community are failing to provide humanitarian assistance for tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting in South Kordofan.

Reports today from El Obeid are saying that there is a continuous influx of thousands of displaced people from Southern Kordofan. Lorries carrying between 50/60 person are continuously arriving in El Saleheen (a transport station, at the entrance of El Obeid from the South). Currently in El Saleheen there are around 12,000 to 15,000 displaced people, the great majority are women and children.

The displaced people are being received by the Sudanese Red Crescent, registered, and told to depart to another transport station for buses to Khartoum, or if they have any relatives in El Obeid they have to go to them. No assistance is being offered at the reception station other than water from a barrel. The very meager supplies of food available is being offered is by individuals from El Obeid city.

The three camps which were opened in Er Rahad town on the 8th (see previous statement below) have reportedly been forcibly closed and the displaced people were ordered to travel to Khartoum and stay with relatives or to join any relatives they have living in Er Rahad town. It seems the Sudanese Government is determined to avoid the creation of IDP camps (as happened in Darfur) and to restrict the activities of humanitarian NGOs.

A humanitarian disaster is unfolding for the desperate civilians fleeing the fighting in Southern Kordofan but the response of the international community has so far been totally inadequate. There is an urgent need for the immediate provision of humanitarian assistance including food, medicines and shelter. Pressure must be exercised on the Sudanese authorities to ensure that such assistance can be delivered.

June 10th Statement for background
The ongoing fighting in South Kordofan has created massive displacement of the civilian population. On June 8th 2011 a first wave of displaced persons, most of them children, women and elders, were received in 3 reception camps in Er Rahad town in Er Rahad locality on the border with South Kordofan and according to sources from the ground these camps have received 832 persons in two days, more than 400 persons per day.

According to the displaced people thousands have fled the fighting areas and are wandering in the bush trying to make their way out to safe havens. They say the towns of Al fed Abdala, Dalami, Khor Daleb, Khor Albied and Um Brembeeta have been evacuated and turned into a battle field between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) troops. The displaced persons received in the schools in Er Rahad locality depend on the limited food aid that individuals in the town are able to provide. There is no food reserve to meet the need of the increasing number of new comers. Mothers in the camps have said that the type of food available has caused diarrhea in their children and there are grave fears for the health of the displaced people. The local reception committee has said that there are no options to get other food to meet the needs of the displaced people. There is a severe lack of medicines and medical personnel.

Fighting is spreading all over South Kordofan State and more waves of displaced people were received in Debaibat (a far northern town in South Kordofan), numbers are in tens of thousands and in El Obeid the capital of North Kordofan. More displaced persons are expected to arrive to Debaibat, El Obeid and Er Rahad town.

The reception camps in Er Rahad are currently located in the local schools which in principle should open for classes in the coming week. Shelter is therefore also urgently needed because the rainy season is approaching. There is an urgent need to secure a reliable supply of food and medical care.

Recommendation
The international community should take urgent measures to ensure the protection of civilians in South Kordofan and in the areas to which they have been displaced. In particular there is an urgent need for the rapid provision of humanitarian assistance including food, medicines and shelter.

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