April 27, 2012 Leave a comment
“Women wait in the heat for up to four hours twice a day, next to their long queues of buckets and jerry cans. Men with sticks and whips police the lines. Fights break out all the time. No one has to ask why. There is simply not enough water and we are running out of options and we are running out of time.” -Oxfam’s Pauline Ballman works in the Jamam Refugee Camp in South Sudan
Unity state has borne the brunt of aerial bombings by Sudan even after South Sudan had said it would withdraw from Heglig. On Monday, Sudanese warplanes bombed a market and an oil field in South Sudan, killing at least two people, after Sudanese ground forces reportedly crossed into South Sudan with tanks and artillery. There are numerous bombings taking place, just Wednesday, Sudan also bombed the village of Chotchara.
Since fighting broke out in Blue Nile state in Sudan between government forces and rebels from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, about 85,000 people have fled into South Sudan’s Upper Nile state. The states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, where violence began last year, lie north of the border with South Sudan, and have populations who were aligned with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) during Sudan’s long civil war. Antonovs planes that bombed the refugees’ villages in Blue Nile have flown over Jamam camp, about 75km west of the border with Sudan, three times in the past week. Already the camp is barely coping with lack of water supplies with so many new people and now there are fears that more may arrive as conflict spreads. There is also the prospect of cholera breaking out as people drink dirty water to survive the dead heat. Time is running out!
The United States, spearheaded by Susan Rice said on Thursday it has drafted a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at making legally binding an African Union demand that Sudan and South Sudan stop border clashes, resume talks and resolve their many disputes.
This comes after President Obama’s announcement of a new executive-branch initiative, the Atrocities Prevention Board to strengthen the United States’ ability to prevent mass atrocities. Watch Elie Wiesel’s Introduction and President Obama’s full remarks:
As much as proposals and resolutions create sound progress and policies, the change must be implemented on the ground because time is running out. Sudan needs to immediately halt aerial bombings of innocent people and we need to provide assistance to those who are suffering and on the brink of death.