South Sudan was established as a new country in 2011 because of the fatal civil war between the forces of the government and the opposition forces. Two years later, the country flared up and later leading to a menacing situation of armed conflict, economic decline, disease, and hunger. This conflict has enforced millions to flee the country for protection and left millions more displaced inside the country. It is the largest in Africa and the third-largest refugee crisis in the world.
According to UNCHR, nearly 2.3 million South Sudanese have fled to neighboring countries in search of protection and 1.7 million have been internally displaced inside the country as a consequence of violent conflict across their territory. Over 80% of the fleeing refugees are women and children. They are the survivors of violent attacks, sexual harassment, and in many instances, children have been separated from their parents and are traveling alone.
The majority of the South Sudanese are living in bordering countries, such as Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As stated by UNHCR, Sudan is home to more than 861,000 South Sudanese refugees. Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp and it’s expansion hosts more than 106,000 refugees, which is one of the largest South Sudanese refugee populations in the world. The majority of these refugees live in camps, while only 8% of them are in individual accommodation. Most of the time, they arrive sick and fragile. During the monsoon period, their needs increase more because of flooding, food shortages, and increased diseases.
Moreover, health and humanitarian needs in refugee camps are high as it’s decisive to continue accommodating the refugees and the communities that host them. Some of the major challenges in these refugee camps are the availability of potable water, a lack of paid work, limits on movement and, insufficient food. About 6 million South Sudanese, which Is more than half the population, are in immediate need of food aid. The deficiency of food, combined with poor living conditions and other factors, leads to seasonal spikes in malnutrition. Besides, coming up against the conflict, witnessing and suffering violent events, together with the challenges of living as refugees and the unreliability of their future has left many with mental health issues.
Besides, according to UNCHR, in February 2019, around 800 South Sudanese refugees returned to their home from Uganda, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also, an additional 6,000 internally displaced people have returned to their villages. But yet, there is a real threat to the South Sudanese refugees in their home country. Over 1 million people are in urgent need of assistance. The capacity to assist and protect the vulnerable must be reinforced to save lives immediately. On the other hand, the concern of a funding crisis is also on the rise because of the growing number of refugees. To avoid this serious crisis, actions must be taken immediately across the region.