One million people have been displaced throughout South Sudan and bordering countries as a result of violent conflict between political factions within the Republic of South Sudan. About 74,000 Jonglei State residents, many of whom fled with only the clothes on their backs, have sought refuge in the forests along the banks of the Nile River in a neighboring state.
Hunger, waterborne diseases, lack of shelter, continued violence and limited opportunities to farm or earn an income are among their greatest concerns. Catholic Relief Services, with generous funding from Caritas Internationalis and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and the U.S. Agency for International Development, is responding with essential sanitation and hygiene programs, and distributing emergency shelter kits, household items and hygiene kits.
All photos by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS.
The Nile River has become a lifeline—and a potential health hazard—for displaced families in central South Sudan. While the river provides drinking water and a source of fish and general recreation, it’s also being used for bathing, laundry and defecation.
Samuel Nyariel, a CRS volunteer hygiene promoter, gives a hand-washing demonstration to children at a displacement camp. Hand-washing helps stop the spread of disease in crowded conditions.
Deng Chol helps build latrines at a camp. Basic facilities such as latrines help minimize the spread of disease.
Leann Chol, 15, shares food with a young friend while preparing a simple meal for her family.
Day laborers Abraham Jok, left, and Machuei Awet load hygiene kits onto a truck for distribution at a nearby displacement camp.
CRS hygiene kits can mean the difference between sickness and health for people displaced by violence and natural disaster.
Akou Marial was born under a tree in a South Sudan forest without medical assistance. Akou’s mother passed out from blood loss after 2 days of labor.
Ateny Nyieth rests under a mosquito net, one of the only items his family managed to bring when they escaped their village. Ateny, who is blind, had to be carried by family members when they fled.
Community volunteers prepare to hand out bamboo poles, part of a CRS emergency shelter kit that includes two plastic sheets, nails, rope and metal pegs.
Until CRS began distributing shelter kits, trees were often the only source of shelter.
From left: Wara Nyuku, Ayol Awuat and Atieng Aluong carry water from the Nile in containers from CRS. Before receiving containers, they made up to 10 trips a day to collect water.
Sara Fajardo is the Regional Information Officer for east and southern Africa for Catholic Relief Services. Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sara’s articles and photographs tell the story of CRS programs in over a dozen countries spread over many thousands of miles.
Copyright 2014, Catholic Relief Services.