Syracuse, NY (June 23, 2011) A humanitarian crisis has emerged in Sudan’s South Kordofan State over the past weeks. More than 60,000 civilians have been displaced by this conflict, as widespread abuses—including extrajudicial killings, looting, and destruction of civilian property—have occurred.
The Near East Foundation (NEF) is already active in South Kordofan State, training ex-combatants in small business development. With the current crisis, We are mobilizing to provide emergency relief services and support to the tens of thousands of men, women, and children displaced by the conflict. We have partnered with the South Kordofan Sudanese Red Crescent Society and Umm al-Momenein (a local NGO that focuses on primary health care and has mobile health clinics for emergency relief), on past projects – and will work closely with these local partners in addressing the current situation.
During this humanitarian crisis, NEF is collaborating with partners in providing emergency food, supplies, and health services to those displaced by the conflict—with a particular focus on the woman and children affected by this crisis. NEF will target 1,000 families in the areas of El Obeid, Dibibat, and Kadugli.
The Humanitarian Crisis
Since June 5, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) soldiers have been fighting in South Kordofan State—an oil-rich state in North Sudan, on the border of the area that is to split into South Sudan in July. The humanitarian crisis as a result of this conflict has quickly escalated; the capital city of Kadugli has been abandoned as residents seek to escape the violence. Aerial bombing campaigns in Kadugli, Talodi, and Dilling are reported to continue—with civilian deaths and the destruction of property. Men, women, and children have fled cities, and sought hiding outside of the state or in the region’s Nuba Mountains.
“After all of the suffering of the first war, people had returned to their villages and towns,” said Musa Gismalla, NEF’s Country Director in Sudan who originates from South Kordofan State. “With the beginning of rainy season, they were starting to prepare their farms for planting as agriculture is the main source for food and income. Then, a sudden destructive war started again which is even more aggressive than the first one.”
The situation of these displaced populations remains highly precarious, without access to necessary food, clean water, housing structures, supplies, or health services. The UN and other local agencies have experienced challenges reaching displaced populations in this extremely volatile region.
“Once again, civilians in South Kordofan have been forced to flee their homes,” Gismalla said. “They have no shelter, although it is the rainy season; no food except some very small food items distributed in limited areas; no education for their children even though schools normally resume in the month of June; no clean water; no income sources; and a lack of health services. As the people of South Kordofan will not plant during this rainy season, we definitely expect that from now to next year all these people will face potential starvation.”
NEF has worked in Sudan since 1978, with offices currently located in Khartoum and Dilling. NEF’s office in Dilling remains open—one of two NGO offices left unscathed by the current conflict. NEF is working to support its staff and the people of South Kordofan State during this time.
NEF’s emergency humanitarian relief program is a short term project to provide necessary supplies and services to those displaced by the escalating conflict in Sudan’s South Kordofan State. These emergency supplies and services will provide life-saving support to the affected populations, until the situation in South Kordofan stabilizes—and NEF returns to its long-term development work in the region.
Donations to these efforts can be made to NEF through Global Giving:http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-relief-for-civilians-in-sudan.
The Near East Foundation (NEF) leads innovative, grassroots social and economic change in impoverished communities throughout the Middle East and Africa. NEF empowers citizens to take control of their futures, giving them the tools they need to combat poverty and to thrive independently of foreign aid. This approach brings “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” to the region’s most vulnerable populations – among them women, at-risk youth, the rural poor, and urban slum-dwellers. Our vision is simple: help build a more prosperous region, with equality and economic opportunity for all, one community at a time.