Juba, South Sudan, June 9, 2011
— With one month to go before South Sudan
becomes the world’s newest independent nation, World Vision is hopeful that military clashes that have forced thousands of people to flee can be brought to an end to avert a larger humanitarian crisis.
More than 70,000 people have been displaced in the Abyei region following heavy fighting between the North’s Sudan Armed Forces and Sudan People’s Liberation Army of the South. Clashes have included attacks on United Nations (UN) peacekeepers, and the UN is calling on all sides to allow humanitarian aid to reach the area. The fighting comes six months after a referendum held in January, in which the people of South Sudan overwhelmingly voted for independence, which will become a reality on July 9, 2011.
“As always in situations where families are displaced, it is the children who are the most vulnerable and often suffer the most,” said Edwin Asante, Program Director for World Vision South Sudan.
“It is World Vision’s hope that the fighting can be swiftly brought to an end and that humanitarian aid can be provided to children and their families who have lost their homes.”
World Vision has been asked by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to coordinate humanitarian efforts in the Warrap region, which is located just south of Abyei. World Vision South Sudan is working with other humanitarian agencies to distribute non-food items, such as mosquito nets, plastic sheets and blankets in the town of Kuajok, where thousands of displaced people from the Abyei region have arrived with virtually no possessions.
"We are concerned about the safety of civilians, especially children, who become extremely vulnerable during displacement,” Asante adds. “Violence and displacement will have a traumatic impact on these children, some of whom may have been separated from their families."
World Vision has operated in North Sudan since 1983 and in South Sudan since 1989 and operates a number of relief, recovery and development programs that seek to promote peace and reconciliation in Sudan, while improving the lives of children and their families.About World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews