Urgent access needed to help civilians in Sudan’s embattled South Kordofan
30 Jun 2011 - Tens of thousands of Sudanese have been driven from their homes by fierce violence in the state of South Kordofan in northern Sudan, and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
The UN estimates that more than 73,000 people have fled the fighting that erupted June 5 between government troops and fighters aligned with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army.
Many of the displaced are ethnic Nuba who have long been marginalized. Most of them are seeking shelter in nearby communities or hiding out in the Nuba Mountains where they have no access to medical assistance, food and clean water.
“Authorities in South Kordofan are barring international aid agencies from entering the region and supply lines have been cut,” says Susan Purdin who oversees International Rescue Committee programs in South Sudan. “We’re extremely worried about the safety and well-being of people who live there. We’re hearing stories of horrible atrocities.”
There have been numerous reports of targeted ethnic and political killings, the burning and looting of homes and businesses and intense aerial bombardments by the northern military.
“News out of Ethiopia that the two sides have agreed to discuss a ceasefire is encouraging,” says Purdin. “We urge them to grant humanitarian relief groups safe and unhindered access to desperate populations without delay and to immediately put in place measures to protect civilians and restore stability.”
The unrest in the volatile border state of South Kordofan, amid ongoing violence in the flashpoint state of Abyei, raises further tension in the region as South Sudan is set to become independent from the north on July 9.
For interviews or more information, contact:
Sophia Jones-Mwangi (Nairobi)
firstname.lastname@example.org / +254 737 800 028
Melissa Winkler (New York)
email@example.com / +1 646 734 0305
Stefano Gelmini (London)
firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 207 692 2739
About the International Rescue Committee: A global leader in humanitarian assistance, the International Rescue Committee works in more than 40 countries offering help and hope to refugees and others uprooted by disaster, conflict and oppression. During crises, IRC teams provide health care, shelter, clean water, sanitation, learning programs for children and special aid for women. As emergencies subside, the IRC stays to revive livelihoods and help shattered communities recover and rebuild. The IRC also helps resettle refugees given sanctuary in the United States. A tireless advocate for the most vulnerable, the IRC is committed to restoring hope, dignity and opportunity.
The IRC has been one of the largest providers of aid in Southern Sudan for over 20 years. Today we provide more than 600,000 people in six states—Central, Eastern and Western Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity and Lakes—with vital services including healthcare, child survival programs, education, and sexual violence aid and prevention projects. For more information, visit www.rescue.org.