After a decades-long civil war, South Sudan split off from Sudan and became an independent country in July 2011. However, violent conflicts have continued in both Sudans and especially along the border between the two countries. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. They have lost their homes, their belongings, their livelihoods and many of them have lost family members. Children have been injured and traumatized; so many have only known war, instability and deprivation in their young lives. Humanitarian access is very difficult because of the on-going fighting. As a result, thousands of refugees are left to fend for themselves, children are malnourished, exposed to malaria and other diseases and left without medical care.
Our team has been going to conflict areas in South Sudan for many years. Thanks to an extensive network of local contacts they have been able to avoid the fighting and reach small groups of refugees outside of the big camps that try to survive on their own. They can be found on the outskirts of villages, in the mountains or along rivers. Often a group of trees and some rags are the only shelter for these displaced people, and finding food is a daily struggle.
Images from the field - our project director reports from recent trips
"Although much has changed in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, little has changed in rural and isolated areas. While the corporates do business in Juba the situation a few miles North is very different...Thousands of families internally displaced due to continued attacks on their villages having to flee for their lives, living with little, out under trees in harsh conditions, malnourished children, wounded villagers, abducted children, malaria, aerial bombardments...the suffering and struggle continue for many."
Aerial bombardments… incomprehensible for most of us.
Here is what our project director witnessed:
"One hears the sound of the plane approaching, everyone stops doing whatever they were busy with, looks up and listens, looking around for a place to hide, when the plane throttles back and slows down people start running for cover, the sound of women and children screaming, men shouting, next comes the sickening sound of bombs falling (you can actually hear the sound of bombs falling/crashing through the air for a good number of seconds which seems like an eternity), at that point no-one knows where the bombs will land or who will be hit, next comes the thump and explosion as the ground shakes, more screams, more crashing through the air, more thumps and explosions (some strange relief as you realize the you weren't hit and that you're still alive),...then a moment of silence before some more screams following by the sound of women crying, men pick themselves up out of the dirt and start looking around, helping the wounded, counting the casualties...while the planes fly off into the distance."
As long as the fighting continues in Sudan and South Sudan, children will suffer and as long as children suffer, ASC will be working to help them. Please join us!