June 16th, 2015
The South Kordofan Blue Nile Coordination Unit (SKBN CU) has published their May 2015 Humanitarian Update. The SKBN CU works with local civil society organisations and international humanitarian actors to share credible information on humanitarian needs in the two conflict-affected states. In this update, the main sources of information are civilians involved in local humanitarian monitoring and protection activities, local civil administration representatives, and the reporting of other civil society organizations.
The Overview is reproduced here (emphasis added) and you can download the update in full below.
Ground fighting intensified during the reporting period with the Sudan government continuing its “decisive campaign” to eradicate the SPLA-N (rebels) in the aftermath of the elections. The fighting caused the displacement of approximately 50,000 people in the Two Areas in May 2015. Many of the displaced suffered loss of most of their household goods and food stocks, which were looted and burnt by government aligned militias – mainly Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Popular Defence Forces (PDF). The government forced around 12,000 people in Blue Nile to move to the outskirts of the capital Damazin. An unknown number of civilians were reportedly killed and at least forty-eight (48) were abducted by government forces or affiliated militias. The new IDPs are now living in extremely critical humanitarian conditions, having lost their food stocks and assets including seeds, and will be unable to plant in the rainy season now underway. Many newly displaced in South Kordofan are expected to move to the refugee camps in South Sudan. Neither international organisations nor the CU are unable to assess the situation of the IDPs in government held areas due to government prohibitions on access.
Indiscriminate and targeted aerial bombardment and shelling continue to create fear and cause stress for the civilian populations in the Two Areas. An estimated 180 bombs, including four cluster bombs, and about 300 shells were dropped on civilian locations in May 2015 resulting in the death of five people and injuring nineteen.
Improved household food security data collection and analysis by the Food Security and Monitoring Unit (FSMU) in conjunction with the CU Humanitarian Monitoring teams indicates the majority of households in both Blue Nile and South Kordofan report that the recurring insecurity results in reduced access to fields, pastures, water and markets and losses of crops, livestock, and essential infrastructure. While the number of casualties are low, at least partially due to effective community based and selfprotection mechanisms after four years of conflict, the aerial attacks have a deep and escalating negative psychological effect on the people. The increase in aerial bombardment and overflights of civilian locations in May and June has been a consistent strategy of the Sudan Armed Forces each year since the start of the civil war, to disrupt cultivation and planting activities, with visible negative impact on the war affected populations in the Two Areas.
The Food Security and Monitoring Unit (FSMU) is now able to better report on the extent and severity of factors affecting food security as well as how households are coping in the Two Areas. Communities in the Two Areas still rely largely on crop and animal sales for income and have started planting in May with the good and early start to the rainy season. In Blue Nile (Yabus and Wadaka payams) households are largely relying on artesian gold mining, a dangerous income source that engages both adults and children. To cope with increasing food insecurity, nearly a third of households are borrowing money and food and reducing health and education expenditures. The situation appears more worrying in South Kordofan, from the visibly increase in the number of households utilizing negative coping strategies. In both areas, there are reports of poor households consuming seed stock as food, which bodes poorly for their ability to cultivate and produce sufficient food for the coming year through their farming activities.
Priority areas for humanitarian monitoring include Kao-Nyaro (South-eastern Jebels), Rashad and al Abayissya (eastern Jebels), all of which, to date, are not accessible to the CU/HMT, and Dalami, in South Kordofan and Wadaka, Chali and the Ingessana Mountains (also not accessible to the CU/HMT) in Blue Nile. An estimated 100,000 people (14,500 HHs) in the areas in South Kordofan and an estimated 40,000 living in those areas in Blue Nile are presently faced with “crisis” conditions. These households, in the absence of humanitarian assistance, will be forced to either relocate if physically possible or face “emergency” conditions – implying a potential and significant threat of increased malnutrition and mortality.
Since the conflict in South Sudan began, the personal security of the refugees has considerably increased, particularly in Upper Nile, but there is also an increasingly concerning trend of violence between host and refugee populations from South Kordofan in Unity State. Refugees also report they suffer from shortages in food distribution.