Some 2,500 Sudanese from the troubled South Kordofan State have arrived in the towns of Kodok and Lelo, in Fashoda and Malakal counties in South Sudan's Upper Nile state in need of humanitarian assistance.
Many of the displaced are women and children. They have walked between five and 10 days, fleeing from their homes in Warni and Kau-Nyaro, southeast of South Kordofan state. Some explained they had left their homes due to the on-going conflict and growing lack of food after two consecutive poor harvest seasons, as well as limited supply routes.
"We did not have food and, despite the risk of being attacked on the way, we arrived in Lelo hoping to find something to eat for ourselves and some to take back home for the children who were too weak to make the walk," explained Ms Baria El Kik, who arrived at Lelo during the month of September. "Many more people are expected to arrive but it is taking time because of the heavy rains and difficult road conditions,"
One of the main concerns of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team is the nutritional status of these women and children. They are already weak when they arrive and without humanitarian assistance their condition will only worsen. In Kodok, more than 200 children under five years of age are now receiving treatment in the ambulatory therapeutic feeding programme. MSF medical teams are carrying out mobile clinics on a weekly basis, monitoring the health status of the population and providing basic healthcare to assist the most vulnerable population.
In addition to medical assistance, MSF is lobbying other stakeholders to assure that proper and swift action is taken in favour of the newly arrived communities.
MSF has been working in the region that today constitutes the Republic of South Sudan since 1983. MSF is present in eight out of South Sudan's ten states and responds to many emergencies including large-scale displacement, refugee influxes, alarming nutrition situations, and peaks of disease such as malaria and kala azar, in addition to providing basic and specialist healthcare services.