Increased DRC operations in South Sudan

by Danish Refugee Council | Danish Refugee Council (DRC) - Denmark
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 10:23 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The conflict in South Sudan has forced more than 500.000 people into displacement, at a time where international donors and organizations are already under pressure. Danish Refugee Council (DRC) are now expanding the emergency operations with an additional 2,3 million Euro primarily with a focus in the refugee camps in Bentui and Malakal, where more than 30.000 internally displaced are in urgent need of assistance.

Severe humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Central Africa are pressing international donors and organizations.

“The conflict in South Sudan couldn’t have come with a worse timing. The capacity in the UN system, with international donors and humanitarian NGOs are under maximum pressure. We have to stretch our resources with massive relief efforts in Central African Republic and Syria, but at the same time I’m convinced that the situation in South Sudan is now so dire that we have to extend our efforts,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, Head of Emergency at Danish Refugee Council, who is in South Sudan.

DRC have emergency operations in eight out of the ten provinces in South Sudan, including Central Equatoria, Upper Nile State and Unity State, where the fighting is ongoing. At the same time, DRC are providing relief aid in Uganda and Ethiopia, countries that since December 15th have received more than 80.000 refugees from South Sudan.

“We have the geographical and operative setup in South Sudan that has made it possible for us to maintain our presence in the country and prepare the emergency efforts in cooperation with UN, when the fighting broke out. Now we are ready to expand our operations with acute relief in the form of food, blankets, kitchen equipment, shelter, water and sanitation in the camps,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen, who points out that DRC are also focusing on the increasing number of refugees arriving in Uganda and Ethiopia.

The conflict in South Sudan is the worst in the country’s short history.

“With the outbreak of internal conflict, we are facing a crisis within the crisis. After decades of civil war, South Sudan obtained independence in 2011. Hundreds of thousands of people fled from Sudan to South Sudan, and the country has been tormented by conflicts with Sudan and internal conflict ever since,” says Rasmus Stuhr Jakobsen.

DRC has been operational in South Sudan since 2005. When South Sudan reached independence in 2011, DRC was present in the country. DRC and it’s demining unit, Danish Demining Group, are active in the following provinces: Upper Nile State, Unity State, Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, Western Bahr Ghazal State, Warrap State, Western Equatoria State, Eastern Equatoria State and Central Equatoria State.