In DR Congo
Seeking safety, women, men and children have to trek for days across the border without food or water because they left their homes in South Sudan only with a handful of belongings. Those who could afford it arrived on motorbikes, bicycles or cars.
We have been walking for the last six days. We have not eaten anything since yesterday morning. We also do not have any water. We come from Morobo, South Sudan, and we do not know how long it will take us to reach Uganda. Right now, in total we are 10 of us. We were more but even just now, one of my girls ran away. Maybe she is confused or she just wants to go back to South Sudan. It is too dangerous there. They are killing everyone. Slaughtering everyone. We do not have money to get a car transport.
Look at her (the old woman). She is old and just the other day she started having a problem with her knee, so she has tied it tight and hopefully we can walk a bit more. When we get to Uganda things will be better. Most people here in Congo cannot really help us because they are also poor.
JUSTIN JUMA'S SON
Someone came and told me that my husband had died. I wept and wept and wept.
I only came with baby nappies but no mattress, no bed sheets, and no clothes. I have not created problems for anyone, I am not a troublemaker, neither do I hold any grudges. Why am I experiencing all this bad luck?
VIOLA ROBA, 34 YEARS OLD, SOUTH SUDANESE REFUGEE IN DR CONGO
The local DR Congo population do what they can to help the refugees but due to the high levels of poverty experienced in this area, especially after the closure of tobacco factories where a majority of the population sold their tobacco, only few can afford to feed their own families and there is a high number of malnutrition cases.
After fleeing South Sudan, Rose Laiki and her disabled mother were left behind in DR Congo, as the family left for a refugee camp in Uganda.
When people fled South Sudan, we stayed behind for almost three days, yet almost everybody had left and then my brother had to hire a motorbike to transport us to Congo at night. Able family members left for a refugee camp but I had to remain here to care for my crippled mother. Only two of us are here, that is my mother and I. I have nothing to do and getting food is a problem. I have children and their father left with them. I only remained with the three year old. They gave us a small piece of land so that we could build a house to live in. The problem is that this land is not fertile enough for farming.
ROSE LAIKI, SOUTH SUDAN REFUGEE IN DR CONGO
In South Sudan
When South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, many were filled with boundless hope for a new beginning - a new nation rich in oil and vast fertile land was born. Many in this nation are dependent on activities such as farming and cattle raising as a means to earn an income.
People were forced to flee and take up refuge in Protection of Civilian Sites and other camps and also fled to neighboring countries such as DR Congo, Uganda, and Kenya. Again, in July 2016, government and opposition forces clashed and hundreds were killed. Those who had returned to their homes had to flee once again despite having already been on the path to regaining some semblance of normalcy in their lives.
The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is escalating due to not only the armed conflict, which has resulted in inter-communal violence, but also harsh climate conditions with a severe drought that has already led to a declaration of famine in some parts of South Sudan. In addition, a high inflation rate of up to 600% has meant an almost daily rise in the prices of goods and services.
The protracted South Sudan crisis is currently not seeing the political commitment of involved parties to finding a solution. More than a million continue to be displaced to neighboring countries in desperate search for relief as they face a lack of food and water. Uganda has seen the largest influx of South Sudanese refugees, Kenya and DR Congo are receiving refugees despite facing their own form of strife. Thousands more continue to be displaced or attacked within South Sudan, while media attention has been drawn elsewhere.
Click on the map markers for additional information.
Many of the refugees are reluctant to go to the Biringi Refugee Camp in DR Congo and instead prefer to go to Uganda, where they believe it is safer and where they also believe that the services in the refugee camps are better.
My name is Samuel Lujulo, I am 76 years old. I am just coming from South Sudan where I had to go back to pick up our things. I had run away to Uganda with my family and they are still there. My wife is sick and is in the hospital. We had to run away because of the conflict in South Sudan. I have been on the road for two days now. My leg is having a problem and I am limping. I do not have any food and the people here in Congo are not able to help me because they also do not have much. I have had to drink water from the rivers.
SAMUEL LUJULO, 76 YEARS OLD FROM LUJULO NEAR YEI, SOUTH SUDAN
Already since October 2014 Malteser International is helping needy families to make long term-improvements to the quality and security of their food. We are working with local partners in South Sudan towards ensuring Food & Nutrition Security through the delivery of agricultural tools and seeds to diversify food production and increase yields.
During the recent crisis, Malteser International also moved to emergency relief, provided food, established access to water by drilling 18 boreholes, built 6 washing/laundry platforms and is distributing soap to about 19,000 displaced people. We also establish some normalcy for the children of this war-riddled country by providing a warm meal per day to 5,000 school children and psycho social care in a child friendly space at a cramped camp with more than 10,000 displaced people.
In addition to the mass exodus of refugees into the DR Congo, many Congolese returnees who had fled their country before are now seeking refuge in their home country again. Both groups need urgent access to medical care and to potable water.
This is my son Nelson Mandela. He is 3 years old and this is my daughter Ayuzu, she is 2 months old.
We came here to the health centre so that Nelson’s wound that he got during an accident as we fled can get treated.
VIOLA ROBA, 34 YEARS OLD, SOUTH SUDAN REFUGEE IN DR CONGO
Our work is currently focused in the provinces of Ituri and Haut Uélé, where Malteser International has proven itself a reliable and competent partner for local hospitals and health facilities. With the advantage of many years of experience, the healthcare system shall be qualitatively improved and functionally restructured at all levels to allow the population access to a high quality of basic health care.
Villages, schools, and medical institutions throughout large parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo suffer from a chronic lack of clean drinking water, and persistently poor hygiene conditions. This makes the diseases that thrive and spread in these conditions a serious problem, and means that epidemics are a constant danger. This is a threat which local health structures lack the training and resources to deal with.
Our goal is to improve the health of both, refugees and inhabitants in seven health zones in the DR Congo, and increase resilience to disease epidemics by providing better access to clean drinking water, initiating the safe disposal of waste and waste water, as well as raising awareness of improved hygiene practices.
Having faced limited access to food and water and after being at great risk of disease, the refugee population is highly vulnerable especially women and children.
Water scarcity in Northern Uganda is a worsening problem which is being compounded by the arrival of thousands of South Sudan refugees which is driving the demand for water higher.
Malteser International is working to provide an improved supply of clean drinking water for refugees and local people alike, in the Arua district’s Rhino Camp for refugees, the settlements of Oraba and Kuluba in the Koboko district, and in Bidibidi Camp in Yumbe district, while implementing hygiene measures to reduce the spread of sickness, and provide support for menstruating girls – who often suffer severe disadvantages, for example missing out on school, because of poor sanitation and social stigma.