Annual report 2019-20Read now
Last month I travelled to the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan. Until recently, Yida was a small rural community. Today, it is a sprawling mass of over 50,000 hungry and desperate people.
July 9th marks the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. On that day last year we witnessed what everybody hoped would be a new beginning for the people of South Sudan – a future away from the violence that had plagued the region for 50 years.
One year on, that new beginning is under threat due to renewed hostilities with the north.
Photos: Top: Medical centre in Agok, where thousands of people fled during violence at the border between South Sudan and Sudan. (Photo by Laura Sheahen/Caritas). Centre-left: Maurice McQuillan, Trócaire’s Humanitarian Programme Manager, stands in a hole dug for people to escape aerial attack at the Yida refugee camp. Centre-right: Donough Ryan, Trócaire’s Country Representative in South Sudan, in the Yida refugee camp. (Photo by Eoghan Rice/Trócaire). Bottom: People displaced by violence near the border between South Sudan and Sudan. (Photo by Laura Sheahen/Caritas).
Conflict in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan has displaced tens of thousands of people. Over 900 people flee into the Yida camp alone each and every day. They are fleeing from aerial bombardment and hunger.
Many of those left behind have suffered death or horrific injury, including the loss of limbs and disfigurement.
Trócaire are supplying the region’s only hospital with vital medical equipment and food. Staff at the hospital are working around the clock. With your support, we are helping them to save lives.
An escalation in the conflict between north and South Sudan would be disastrous for both countries and also for the entire region, which is struggling to recover from the effects of last year’s drought and famine.
The international community has a huge role to play in ending the violence. Through the EU, countries such as Ireland need to put pressure on all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate cessation of violence. An agreement was reached in early August which is hoped will pave the way for badly-needed humanitarian access into South Kordofan. However, pressure must be put on Sudan to stop the targeting of civilians and to ensure full humanitarian access into the affected region.
One year after the people of South Sudan were given hope, we cannot stand by and watch it snatched away from them.
As we mark the anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, we ask you to lend the innocent people there your voice. We ask you to share this blog through social media channels, or else write your own message of support for the people of South Sudan, using the hashtag #ChoosePeace.
The We Choose Peace campaign – a global campaign supported by Trócaire and human rights organisations throughout the world – are looking to create a groundswell of international public pressure with their We Choose Peace campaign.
That’s Trish, John and Joanne from our Campaigns team pictured above. We hope you will join them and upload your own photo and message of peace for Sudan.