Published on 24 June 2023
Since fighting erupted in Sudan on 15th April this year, around 2.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict. Almost 2 million of those remain displaced inside Sudan, with over half a million people fleeing to neighbouring countries.
Christian Aid Ireland’s CEO, Rosamond Bennett, visited Renk just a few weeks ago – near the border between Sudan and South Sudan - to see firsthand the unfolding humanitarian emergency.
Since 15th April over 135,000 people, including South Sudanese nationals as well as refugees and third country nationals, have registered to have fled from Sudan to South Sudan. The vast majority of these people are arriving at the Joda border crossing in Upper Nile State.
Speaking of her recent visit to the transit centre in Renk, south of the Joda border crossing, Rosamond said:
‘When people arrive at the border they are tired but hopeful. Those hopes are quickly dashed when they realise there is no support for them.’
The transit centre, which is meant to hold 1-2,000 people for a few days before they move on, is severely overcrowded.
Rosamond added: ‘I saw many children who were severely malnourished. On just the first day I was there four children died from diarrhoea and/or fever.’
Conditions at the transit centre have been made worse by recent rains and are likely to only worsen as the rainy season continues. Makeshift shelters aren't enough to protect people from the heavy rain. People don't have enough food to eat. There are no toilets, so hygiene and sanitation are also major challenges.
Due to the overcrowding inside the transit centre, new arrivals are having to set up makeshift shelters outside the transit centre walls, while others, who have nothing to make makeshift shelters with, are having to sleep out in the open, completely exposed to the elements.
Our local partner Africa Development Aid are already on the ground responding. They are working to provide people with communal shelters as well identifying children who have become separated from their families when they fled Sudan and referring them onwards to other agencies working to reunite families.
With Christian Aid funding, our partner Lutheran World Federation will be responding both inside and outside the transit centre in Renk. This includes giving the equivalent of $100 (approx. £82) in cash for 240 female-headed families so that they can buy food and other essentials, as well as three months’ worth of ‘dignity’ kits containing soap and sanitary towels to 800 women and girls.
But more support is urgently needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further.
James Wani, Christian Aid’s Country Director for South Sudan shares what he saw in Renk.
Please stand in solidarity with people who have fled fighting in Sudan - Pray with us
O Lord of compassion, we turn to you on behalf of those suffering in Renk.
We feel the despair of hope being dashed as the reality of confusion, a lack of provision, and a lack of direction sets in.
We long for you to intervene, to bring peace to the region, and provision of basic needs to the women, men and children looking for safety. Strengthen the Christian Aid team, guide them so they can respond with wisdom and love.
And provide the resources needed by our partners so they can meet immediate and vital needs, and bring hope in the longer term.
O Lord of compassion, move us also to action as we pray.