On-going conflicts continue to affect thousands of people in both Sudan and South Sudan. Half of South Sudan's 9.7 million people do not have enough to eat. The price of food and fuel has reached unprecedented levels, and refugees continue to flee fighting on the border with Sudan.
Update 17 December 2013: Oxfam strongly condemns the use of violent force against civilians, particularly women and children, and requests South Sudanese security forces and other armed groups to respect human rights of all its people regardless of ethnic origin.
During the refugee crisis of 2012-2013 when thousands of people fled from Sudan to South Sudan, we responded with emergency relief as well as long-term development aid across the south. Cumulatively, we helped 172,000 people.
The north-south war – which left an estimated 2 million people dead and 4 million homeless – was brought to an end with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 2005.
However, even after more than two years of independence, the crisis in South Sudan is still ongoing.
South Sudan, which became an independent state on 9 July 2011, remains one of the poorest and least developed regions of the world, and most communities still have little access to basic services.
South Sudan is increasingly reliant on emergency aid, with the number of people in need of food aid doubling over 2011 to 2012. The country needs urgent support to respond to the humanitarian crisis now and be able to provide enough food, water and essential services to its people over the coming years.
Since 2003, the crisis in the western state of Darfur has been one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies in the world, with over 2.5 million people forced to flee their homes. About 1.7 million displaced people still live in camps in Darfur, while there are still 298,000 Sudanese refugees in the neighbor country of Chad.
Insecurity and targeted attacks on aid workers continue to make it extremely difficult to deliver aid to all who need it, and although large-scale fighting has reduced since the conflict broke out, better protection of civilians, a cessation of hostilities and a committed peace process is needed as urgently as ever.
What Oxfam is doing
Oxfam has been present in Southern Sudan since 1983, providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflict, drought and floods, as well as long term development assistance to some of the most vulnerable Sudanese communities, both in Darfur and South Sudan. Oxfam is also one of the few international agencies working in neglected regions of Sudan, such as the eastern Red Sea State, supporting urban education and livelihoods projects and rural development.
We responded to the influx of vulnerable refugees who fled from Sudan to South Sudan, with emergency relief and long-term development aid across the south. Cumulatively, we helped 172,000 people over 2012-2013.
Our public health programs included providing water, sanitation, and public health activities in the camps of Jamam, Gendrassa, and Kaya, and in surrounding host communities. We built all the latrines in Kaya, in advance of the Jamam residents arriving. Our sanitation researcher reported that camp residents in Gendrassa considered Oxfam latrines to be good quality and better maintained than facilities in nearby camps.
As usual, we work through local partners and civil society organizations including women's groups in various parts of the country.
As fighting continues to drive people from their homes in Darfur, we are providing humanitarian aid – clean water, sanitation, small business trainings and loans, and more – to over 300,000 civilians caught in the conflict.
Oxfam and our partners are providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene programs to nearly 250,000 people in the camps of Darfur. Our water engineers are helping maintain the wells, pumps, tanks, pipes, and taps that deliver treated water to the settlements. Our sanitation and public health staff are ensuring that camp residents have latrines, bathing areas, soap, water cans, and access to the information they need to stay healthy under challenging conditions.
Oxfam is pursuing ways to bring peace to Darfur’s conflict-affected communities. An Oxfam partner recently completed a year-long program to restore harmony among three tribes in northeastern Darfur whose relations had been badly damaged by the conflict. An estimated 80,000 people have benefited from the program, which involved helping revive the tribes’ traditional conflict-resolution system while simultaneously organizing cultural and sporting events aimed at easing tensions.
Oxfam has also supported local camp residents and partners to assemble and distribute more than 15,000 high-efficiency stoves, which can address an array of problems in Darfur. These stoves ease the heavy economic pressure on families, by reducing the cost of fuel, help to reduce the risk of assault from armed bandits and militias on women who must trek into the countryside to gather firewood, and help to protect the environment.
Please consider helping fund our humanitarian aid work in Sudan and South Sudan. These Oxfam affiliates are running direct appeals:
You can also make a donation to the general emergency fund of your nearest national Oxfam affiliate. Your money will be used to fund our emergency work worldwide, which includes responding in countries such as Sudan, South Sudan and Chad.
Updated 17 December 2013.
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Blog: Darfur: Where are we now? (March 2013)
View the slideshow: Rescuing the peace: Southern Sudan at the crossroads