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Renk, South Sudan: Life, death and fear for refugees | Conflict News


Renk, South Sudan – Beneath a makeshift tent, Nyaluak* cradles her child boy, born solely minutes in the past and searching placidly up into his mom’s eyes unaware of his environment. She and the new child are quiet – and fortunate.

The skinny sides of the tent can’t cease the inconsolable wails from some moms solely metres away, mourning the dying of a five-month-old child, whose physique lies lifeless at their toes, wrapped in brown material on the muddy floor.

The juxtaposition of pleasure and trauma couldn’t be plainer within the Renk Transit Centre, 40km (25 miles) south of the border with Sudan, the place native reduction employees say an toddler dies almost daily, and the place life and dying have turn out to be weary companions as folks flee violence between rival warlords that started within the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Greater than 100,000 folks have fled Sudan into neighbouring South Sudan because the battle erupted on April 15, in accordance with UN figures. Practically 60,000 of these have handed by way of Renk, a border city that’s often dry till the annual rains inundate it, as is going on now.

Arrange within the derelict buildings of an outdated college, the Renk Transit Centre was initially designed to host 2,000 folks. However as transport out of Renk will get tougher with the onset of rain, it’s now bursting with greater than 11,000 folks making do as greatest they’ll within the mud.

Because the wet season looms, it brings extra risks. At Joda, the border submit earlier than Renk, a pop-up clinic caters to these crossing the border. One camp official stated: “Day-after-day youngsters die,” then added: “Yesterday additionally, a two-year-old baby died. The day earlier than yesterday, a six-month-old baby died. The day earlier than that additionally, a toddler died.”

“Day-after-day, all folks, they’re dying as a result of there aren’t any well being services. So illness comes.”

Each authorities authorities and humanitarian organisations have been hesitant to arrange a everlasting camp. They goal to resettle as many individuals as attainable additional into South Sudan, the place there are higher transport hyperlinks and extra vital infrastructure to deal with the inflow.

From Renk, those that can afford it take buses, vehicles or boats additional south to Malakal, the place a UN-run Safety of Civilians (POC) website, is already dangerously overcrowded and working at double capability with 41,000 folks.

Many Sudanese refugees are additionally taken by UN companies by bus from Renk east to 10-year-old Maban Dorro camp, the place a brand new part has been created alongside the 160,000 Sudanese refugees already on the camp.

Testomony to the hazards right here is the rows of brilliant white tents arrange by the UN Refugee Company, simply seen from the Renk centre. Most are empty as a result of folks within the centre say they’re too scared to maneuver there with armed theft frequent, floods posing a severe menace, and deadly snakes abounding.

Faniel, who escaped Khartoum and has been dwelling beneath an open-sided concrete shelter on the Renk centre for a month, says the place might be flooded in two months.

“They take our luggage, our cash… they’ve weapons, we shouldn’t have something,” says Faniel. “This is rather like Khartoum … from battle to battle.”

* Identify modified to guard the person.



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