Skip to content

Emergency support for 12,000 South Sudanese returnees

News Humanitarian assistance
South Sudan -

Since the escalation of the conflict in Sudan, thousands of South Sudanese refugees have been forced to leave everything behind a second time. Many of them have fled back to their country of origin. Cordaid supports this severely impacted group with various forms of assistance. Bashir James, humanitarian programme manager for Cordaid in South Sudan, fills us in on the latest.

South Sudanese aid workers.
South Sudanese aid workers distribute buckets at the transit locations where thousands of refugees reside. Image: Cordaid

We spoke to Bashir in May, when hundreds of South Sudanese were arriving at the border every day, in search of safety and support. Providing the refugees with all kinds of urgent necessities and transporting them to their villages, was the main preoccupation of the humanitarian workers in the region.

In the meantime, Cordaid has been raising more funds among its private donor constituency, which allowed an increase in support activities. “We have been able to do a lot”, Bashir says. “In total, we have supported 12,000 people. We have set up a mobile clinic, where we feed and vaccinate children. We also arranged temporary shelter, constructed a sustainable water system, and distributed blankets and mosquito nets.”

Examples of Cordaid’s assistance for refugees in South Sudan

Results & Indicators

  • 1,000 households received blankets

  • 2,000 households received buckets for collecting water

  • 800 households received cash assistance

  • 1,000 households received food for two months

Though he is proud of these achievements, Bashir also stresses the need for more support for people fleeing the violence in various parts of the volatile region. “In the media, it seems like the situation in Sudan has gone a bit under the radar, but unfortunately that does not mean it is improving. Since the end of August, almost 250,000 people have crossed the border from Sudan back into South Sudan.

“The longer people stay at the transit locations, the worse it will get.”

We are also seeing more refugees returning from Uganda. Since the stricter LGBTQ laws there, international donors have been reducing their funds. This results in less support for refugees residing in the country. This is turning into another crisis.”

Bashir James, humanitarian programme manager for Cordaid in South Sudan. Image: Cordaid

Transportation is key

The transit sites at the border are meant to receive the returnees and quickly offer transportation to the cities and villages where they can reunite with their families. However, the reality is that these places are becoming more and more congested and the number of available water points is insufficient.

Bashir: “We also work a lot on promoting hygiene, because when proper sanitation is lacking, the risk of serious diseases spreading grows day by day. Accelerating transportation remains key. The longer people stay at the transit locations, the worse it will get.”

Apart from conflict and refugee crises, South Sudan also regularly faces severe natural disasters, such as drought and flooding. As it appears, thankfully, nature is giving the population and the humanitarians supporting them a bit of slack this year. “There are cases of flooding but not as catastrophic as last year. Maybe nature is finally allowing us to catch our breath.”

Would you like to read more about this topic? The Mission Aviation Fellowship created an extensive article on the situation at the transit locations and the actions taken by the Cordaid team.