One family’s flight from conflict in South Sudan

تم النشر: 17 يوليه 2014 9:16 CET

By Katherine Mueller, IFRC

For 29-year-old Fadwtey Bon, all she has left of her home in South Sudan is memories. “We had a nice house in Malakal,” she says. “But then my village was attacked. My home was burned to the ground.”

The family was not at home when the intruders came, destroying everything in sight. “When we heard what happened to our home, we did not return. Instead, we went straight to an area where other families had settled, hoping to get some support from the international agencies,” says Fadwtey.

This scene has been repeated in villages across the country, with violence erupting in the capital of Juba in December 2013, and quickly spreading to the states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile. Hundreds of thousands of people have been chased from their homes, many seeking safety in temporary settlement areas, others fleeing to neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

“I have very mixed emotions about what is happening in my country,” says Fadwtey. “I am surprised the situation has deteriorated so quickly. I am sad and I am also angry. I saw someone being killed right in front of me. This should not be happening.”

Fadwtey and her 10- and 12-year-old sons fled to Khartoum State in Sudan in April, where they now live with relatives. “There was no clean water where we were staying in South Sudan, and yet people were fighting over what water was available,” she says. “There was no food, no shelter. When the rains started, our living conditions became unbearable. We had to leave.”

More than 80,000 people have made a journey similar to Fadwtey’s, seeking safety in four Sudanese states of Blue Nile, Khartoum, South Kordofan and White Nile.

To ensure these vulnerable families receive the immediate support they need, particularly with the rainy season just around the corner, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched a revised emergency appeal of almost 5.4 million Swiss francs to support the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in providing that assistance. More than 200,000 people, including Sudanese affected by internal conflict, will be reached through the appeal. Immediate needs include the provision of improved shelter, and access to health care, safe water, and sanitation.

For people left homeless due to the ongoing fighting in South Sudan, the aid cannot come quickly enough. “I think peace will be difficult to achieve as long as the basics for living don’t exist,” says Fadwtey. “I would like to return to South Sudan, but only to visit. I do not want to stay there. I do not want my children to stay there.”