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  • Written by Niamh Griffin

South Sudan refugee crisis: "All of these deaths are preventable"

Shaba with Jane-Ann McKenna of Medecins Sans Frontières Ireland in Jamam refugee camp. Shaba's two-year old daughter died after the journey to the camp. McKenna said that eight children are dying there each day due to a shortage of resources.Aid agencies and the South Sudanese government urgently need to work together to resolve the refugee crisis in border regions according to a leading medical charity.

One year on from the momentous declaration of independence by South Sudan and 18 months after the secession referendum, head of Office at Medecins Sans Frontières Ireland, Jane-Ann McKenna said the situation at Jamam Camp is critical with eight children dying every day.

She said in the last month over 35,000 refugees have fled violence in Sudan for the camp in South Sudan, bringing the total number of refuges in the area to an estimated 170,000.

“Many had been walking for weeks, or months on end, and were suffering from dehydration. In many cases already ill, they arrived in a place that is uniquely unsuited to accommodate a hundred thousand refugees,” she said via e-mail from Jamam.

It had been hoped independence for the smaller nation from north Sudan would mean peace following decades of civil war. But sporadic conflict on the Sudanese side of the border between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) is spreading.

  • Written by IRIN jf/mw

Sudan: Farming the future in the South

Big plans: Farmer Baba Samuel Manoah is turning long-fallow land into a fruit farm. Photo: Jared Ferrie/IRIN.[YEI] With independence only months away, Southern Sudan will need to invest in infrastructure to feed and employ its people, while seeking alternatives to its economic dependency on oil, say analysts.

The key is agriculture, and one aspiring farmer, Baba Samuel Manoah has big plans for his land, which until recently was covered in dense underbrush. Now it is dotted with pineapples, young avocado trees and bananas. He envisions a commercial operation that produces not only fruit and vegetables, but also farmed fish and honey.

While his father, an MP, is busy with political affairs, Manoah plans to move home and run the farm full-time when he completes university in Kampala this year. “You can’t stay somewhere that’s developed and leave your place underdeveloped,” he said.

Six years of peace have allowed Manoah’s family to reclaim some of their land, which lay fallow during the war. He plans to expand operations and tap markets expected to develop rapidly in Africa’s newest state.

  • Written by IRIN pm/eo/cb

Key challenges for Southern Sudan after split

Nearly 99 percent of people in southern Sudan voted for secession. Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN.[JUBA] The release of referendum results for Southern Sudan’s historic independence showing that 98.83 percent voted for secession means formal independence is scheduled for 9 July 2011, but key challenges still remain to be negotiated.

These issues, observers say, must now be hammered out by the two ruling parties - the north's National Congress Party (NCP) and the south's Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the international community "to assist all Sudanese towards greater stability and development", while US President Barack Obama welcomed the "successful and inspiring referendum” but urged north and south to work quickly on post-referendum arrangements.

  • Written by World and Media

Sudan awaits the sound of one hand clapping

In words and symbols, voters in South Sudan will be offered the choice between separation and unity with the North on January 9.The ballot papers designed by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission are elegantly straightforward. In words and symbols, voters in South Sudan will be offered the choice between separation and unity with the North on January 9. One hand represents separation. Two clasped hands represent unity.

The majority of voters are expected to choose separation but any celebrations in the South are at risk of being replaced by disappointment or even conflict.

Even if Northern Sudan does not try to prevent secession, there is no guarantee that the transition to independence will be peaceful, nor that South Sudan will be able to function as a normal state in the first years following independence.

The South's referendum will take place on the sixth anniversary of the signing of a North/South peace agreement on January 9, 2005.

The progress to date with preparations for January 9 suggest that the Khartoum government may respect the result. It remains to be seen if there will be outbreaks of violence, whether government-orchestrated or not. Earlier this year, the Brussels-based Crisis Group (ICG) described the North-South border as "dangerously militarised".

  • Written by IRIN eo/am/mw

Analysis: Securing a peaceful divorce in Sudan

Much work needs to be done to ensure that any Sudan partition is peaceful. SPLA soldiers from the Abyei area. ID 183440. UN Photo/Tim McKulka.[JUBA] A January referendum in Southern Sudan is likely to lead to the creation of a new country - the first in Africa since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 - but much work needs to be done to ensure the separation is more peaceful than that of its Horn of Africa neighbours.

“It is like a divorce,” Chaplain Kara Yokoju, a professor at Juba University and a specialist in international relations, told IRIN in the Southern capital.

“Once concluded, you may have to sell the house so that each party takes away something. You cannot divide the house and the bricks into two and give each party some to carry away,” he added

“The foundations for a constructive post-referendum relationship are yet to be laid,” warned the International Crisis Group in a new report, adding that the pace of negotiations to date was “cause for concern”.

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