Heavy rains coming soon in Sudan and South Sudan will add to the woes of civilians after a border conflict and civil war forced thousands to flee their homes, aid agencies warned Tuesday.
“We’re on the path from crisis to catastrophe,” said Johnson Byamukama of Oxfam in South Sudan, one of five international agencies to issue the joint warning.
The others are Christian Aid, International Rescue Committee, Refugees International and Save the Children.
“Seasonal rains due in Sudan and South Sudan will exacerbate already dire conditions in refugee camps, restrict travel and access, and heighten the risk of disease,” the joint statement read.
South Sudan -- which declared independence from its former civil war enemy Sudan in July -- is already reeling from multiple crises, including ethnic clashes, rebel attacks and over 4 million people needing food aid.
Sudan and South Sudan’s armies are in a tense standoff along their contested border after weeks of fierce clashes took the foes to the brink of all out-war.
In addition, raging civil war in Sudan’s Southern Kodofan and Blue Nile states has forced over 100,000 people to flee as refugees into the South, into remote areas cut off during the rains and with severe shortages of drinking water.
“The coming rains could make life for refugees unbearable and bring the threat of waterborne disease,” Byamuka added. “The world needs to wake up to the true cost of conflict for people who have already suffered so many years of war.”
Juba shut down oil production that formed 98 percent of government revenue in January in a bitter dispute over oil transit fees after Khartoum seized oil in lieu of payments, impacting the economies of both nations.