Rebuilding life: the story of a returnee family in Sudan

Publié: 21 août 2013 14:59 CET

By Susan Onyango, IFRC

Abu Alkassim Hussein, his wife and four children came from South Sudan after the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Despite having been born in South Sudan, he and his family were forced to leave the new country, as they were not considered to be natives.

“My wife and I left our jobs and everything we owned, including land, houses and cattle, carrying only a few personal items. I paid 500 Sudanese pounds (113 US dollars) for my family to travel two days by car to Sudan,” says Abu.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society was the first come to their aid when they arrived in Abu Ramad, El Jabalain, providing them with plastic sheets, water containers and blankets. The family built a house from mud bricks and the Red Crescent provided the roofing materials through an emergency appeal launched by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 2012.

“We used to farm in South Sudan, but now don’t have any arable land. I work as a labourer in the nearby town, but this is not enough to sustain my family considering what we had before we came here,” Abu says.

The family receives medical treatment and water from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, and the children attend the local government schools.

Awatef, Abu’s wife, used to work at the South Sudanese Ministry of Health as a vaccinator. With this background, she received first aid training from the Sudanese Red Crescent Society and now assists community members.

Sudan continues to experience both natural and manmade disasters, including conflict, drought, floods and epidemics, creating a cycle of displacement and vulnerability across the country. By the end of 2012, 4.4 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in the country. The IFRC launched an emergency appeal in May to extend assistance to 11 states.

“Access is difficult, but the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, with its network of volunteers and staff across the country, continues to provide support to those most vulnerable,” said Aisha Maulana, the IFRC's country representative.

The recent appeal aims to raise 3,711,427 Swiss francs to support 150,000 returnees and internally displaced individuals and families over eight months. Interventions include providing shelter, health care, food and other relief items.