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Sudan Aid Groups Gearing Up for Sunday

Aid groups are flocking to provide support as the Sudan referendum—and its potential aftermath—looms.

With the referendum vote in Sudan taking place this Sunday—the vote will determine southern Sudan's independence—many Sudanese refugees who had fled are returning home. Reuters Africa reports:

Millions of southerners fled north to escape fighting during the decades of conflict. Ahead of the vote, tens of thousands have already sold up in the north and made the difficult return journey south, drawn by promises of a better life and driven by fears about their citizenship rights in a divided Sudan.


Hundreds of thousands more are expected to join them before the expected secession takes effect on July 9. They will arrive in a war-scarred south without infrastructure, health care, housing, jobs and often even food.


Aid groups worried that there will be a shortage of health care and housing, all before considering the possibility of war. The Guardian UK reports today that:

International diplomacy to support a fragile peace deal in Sudan must intensify or the south of the country will suffer a humanitarian disaster, aid groups have warned.
Britain yesterday announced a £54m aid package for humanitarian aid for elections. Most of the money – £36m – will be used by UN agencies and NGOs to provide emergency water and sanitation, healthcare and shelter.

Medicins Sans Frontieres is already on the ground battling to contain the biggest kala azar outbreak in the region in eight years.

The severity of the outbreak is just one symptom of the wider medical humanitarian crisis facing the region, including abysmal lack of access to health care, chronic malnutrition, regular outbreaks of preventable diseases, and insecurity that displaces communities and destroys lives


As well, UK Aid group International Medical Corps, which has been in Sudan for 15 years are embedded and ready to react this weekend.

All eyes will be on Sudan in the next many days and you can monitor the crisis on George Clooney's site Satellite Sentinel and at Enough Project.

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