Oxfam deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian emergency and violence in Sudan

Published: 16th June 2011

Oxfam is deeply concerned about the growing humanitarian emergency and violence in South Kordofan, where at least 60,000 people have fled an upsurge in fighting between North and South Sudanese forces and militia over the past week. Aid agencies, including Oxfam partners, have been unable to respond effectively due to the ongoing violence and restrictions on movement. Oxfam calls on both parties to the conflict to immediately cease hostilities and allow humanitarian access to tens of thousands of people in need.

The UN has confirmed a number of aerial bombardments, with at least 11 bombs dropped around the town of Kauda in a few hours on 14 June. Widespread violence against civilians on the ground, and looting of property and relief supplies, has also been reported. The civilian population of towns such as Kadugli, Kauda and Dilling have largely fled, with many people believed to be hiding deep in the Nuba Mountains.

Oxfam partners have managed to distribute medicine and plastic sheeting for shelters to 1,500 people displaced by the violence. Other water and sanitation supplies have been positioned, but due to the continued insecurity our partners have been unable to deliver these so far. The UN has reported that humanitarian flights and trucks have been blocked from accessing the region.

Tension along the North-South border has rapidly increased in recent weeks, and the violence in South Kordofan comes shortly after an estimated 100,000 people were displaced by heavy fighting in the disputed Abyei region.

Oxfam is concerned that, with the international community focusing on next month’s independence of South Sudan, the deteriorating situation along the border is at risk of being neglected. Any further escalation of fighting threatens to undo the achievements of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement over the past six years and endanger hundreds of thousands of lives. The international community must help mediation efforts between both parties to ensure that the upcoming split is amicable and peaceful.

Both new countries – North and South Sudan – will continue to rely heavily on each other and a peaceful border is vital for long term development and security. As well as forcing around 160,000 people to flee their homes and leaving many civilians dead – according to UN reports – the rising tensions along the border have led to spiralling food and fuel prices. This has left many families fleeing violence, and the poorest local communities, unable to afford food.

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Oxfam responding to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters

Contact information

Alun McDonald
Media and Communications Officer, Horn East & Central Africa
Mobile: +254 73666 6663 ; Office: +254 202820147
Skype: alunmcdonald
Twitter: @alunmcdonald