Samaritan's Purse UK has launched an urgent appeal for South Sudan on its first anniversary today.
South Sudan became the world's newest country a year ago today after voting for independence from the North.
However, the first year has been marred by a border dispute with the North and brutal inter-ethnic conflict within its own borders.
Samaritan's Purse is appealing for donations to provide food and water to 170,000 refugees facing a "full blown emergency".
The refugees have been forced to flee their homes in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile state in Sudan as a result of continued bombing of the regions.
Samaritan's Purse said they were now trapped across the border in South Sudan where they are living "between violence and starvation".
“The plight of the refugees is getting worse day by day and is slipping from crisis to disaster. We’re hearing of people dying of dehydration and starvation because of food and water shortages,” said Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director, Simon Barrington.
He added: “The infrastructure is fragile, the country is fragile, the financial situation is fragile and the food situation for the whole of the country is fragile. So we’re appealing for everyone to help us save lives while there’s still time.”
Access to the camps has been severely limited as a result of the arrival of the rainy season.
Speaking from the Yida refugee camp David Phillips, Samaritan’s Purse Country Director for South Sudan said: “The thing that really breaks our hearts is that the situation hasn’t changed in the Nuba mountains where these people are fleeing from.
"They’re still being persecuted and bombed by their own government.
"There’s still no humanitarian access into that place and so the people who are fleeing to find safety in the refugee camps are literally arriving like walking skeletons.”
He continued: “They have to immediately be taken into our therapeutic feeding programmes, or given emergency food rations in order to try to sustain them.
"So we’re seeing an increase of the need here in a very drastic way with new arrivals of up to 700 refugees a day in immediate need of assistance.”
Reflecting on his visit to South Sudan, Mr Barrington said: “It’s always challenging when you see your fellow human beings suffering, knowing that suffering is preventable and yet actions aren’t being taken to prevent this.”
Funds raised through the appeal will go towards equipment that can be used to drill boreholes for clean water.
The appeal will also contribute towards latrines to prevent the spread of deadly diseases, and to replenish food stocks.
Through this appeal Samaritan’s Purse UK plans to provide equipment to drill boreholes for life-giving clean water, build latrines to reduce the spread of deadly diseases and send in food supplies to replenish dwindling stocks.
Mr Barrington concluded: "Our prayer is that no one would die unnecessarily during this time period."
On the web: www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/sudan-crisis
Samaritan's Purse launches appeal on South Sudan's first anniversary
Published 09 July 2012