Yida Refugee Camp in South Sudan

Sep 21, 2013 2 comments

In a vast wetland, about 18 miles south of the contested border between Sudan and South Sudan, lies a sprawling refugee camp of those fleeing the violence in North Sudan. From the air, Yida looks almost idyllic - an African pastoral land of straw huts, lush green vegetation and hard, rust-coloured earthen patches.

Two years ago, it was a tiny village of 400 people. The bright blue walls of the old village building, the only permanent structure in the entire camp, is still visible, if you look hard enough. Today, the camp hosts more than 70,000 Sudanese and as many as 330 new refugees pour across the border into the newly independent South Sudan every day. Most refugees walked for 3-12 days to reach Yida camp. Along the way they often had no food or water and tell stories of staying alive by eating the bark and leaves of trees and drinking from swamps and puddles of muddy water. Many suffer from severe cases of diarrhea, malaria and malnutrition.


Photo credit: Paula Bronstein

The refugees come primarily from the Nuba Mountains, where clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North have driven thousands of residents of South Kordofan across the border and into Yida refugee camp. Similar attacks on the residents in Blue Nile, have driven over 113,000 people from their homes and into South Sudan’s Upper Nile state refugee camps.

Conditions inside the camp are grim. Incidences of domestic violence and sexual exploitation of girls and women are reportedly high. There is no formal schooling available to the estimated 7,000 primary school children in the camp. There is not enough bedding for all the residents of the camp - the majority of refugees sleep on a series of branches which are criss crossed and covered with a tarpaulin or they simply lie on the ground. Food supplies are sufficient for survival but provide little nutritional benefits. Although humanitarian organizations working within the camp are doing their best to treat malnourished children but the infant mortality rate remains high.


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Photo credit: Paula Bronstein


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Sources: Dailymaverick, Aljajeera, Ruyablog


  1. Replies
    1. Ha ha!
      Looks the opposite of Detroit to me. Afterall, there are people living there.


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