Thursday 28 June 2012
ShelterBox goes to South SudanPhotograph taken by Reuters/Goran Tomasevic, courtesy the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet. Children carry their family's belongings as they go to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan outside Tess village in the rebel-held territory of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, May 2, 2012. Fleeing aerial bombardment by the Sudanese air force, thousands of people have abandoned their homes and made make shift shelters between the rocks and boulders.
A ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) is travelling to South Sudan on 29 June to discuss the distribution of emergency shelter with other aid agencies, in response to continuing conflict in the African country.
Sudan split into two countries in July 2011 after the people of the south voted for independence. However there are still unresolved issues between Sudan's Khartoum and South Sudan's Juba, including disputes over the border around Abyei; and contestation over oil-rich areas. People have therefore become displaced from their homes.
Not only this but people from the south who had been living further north due to displacement from more than 50 years of civil war are now being forced to return to South Sudan, from what have been their homes for decades. They have nowhere to go. ShelterBox is responding to fill this void and working towards bringing the displaced families shelter and dignity.
SRT member Tom Lay (UK) on deployment in Japan 2011 responding to the earthquake and tsunami.
SRT members Tom Lay (UK) and Tom Dingwall (UK) will be meeting with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) to coordinate a tent distribution plan.
Tom Lay says that collaboration is key in this response:
'Given the complexity of the situation in South Sudan and the ever-changing developments in this ongoing crisis it is crucial that ShelterBox liaises with other actors in the humanitarian community. We must ensure that any ShelterBox response targets the people in most need efficiently, safely and in line with the wider humanitarian response strategy.
'Multi-agency collaboration allows resources to be consolidated. This results in a more financially economical distribution of aid as organisations are accountable to each other as well as to their donors. The more support we can receive from other organisations means we can spend a greater percentage of each donation directly on the aid allowing us to provide more families with shelter.'
58,000 people are currently living in Yida, a refugee camp in Unity State that is close to the contested border, and approximately 1,000 more arrive each day. ShelterBox disaster relief tents are en route to the affected areas.