Thursday, May 22, 2014

On the frontline of the South Sudan crisis

Right now, conflict-torn South Sudan is facing one of its biggest crises with thousands of refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries and many more displaced within the country itself. As in so many conflicts, it is civilians – ordinary men, women and children – who suffer most.

I went to see for myself what the situation was like on the South Sudan border during a recent three-day visit with UNHCR colleagues to Kakuma refugee camp where Australia for UNHCR has funded projects for a number of years.

Crossing the border

I went first to Nadapal Border Transit centre where I spoke with newly arriving refugees who had travelled there by truck, bus and the last kilometre by Kenyan taxis (a rather incongruous sight in the bush). Many had been stranded on the other side of the flooded river and had spent a nerve wracking time fearing they might be forced back into South Sudan.