Africa

Sudanese Churches Respond to Humanitarian Crisis in Border Region

The Abyei region, claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan, is filled with “a pervading sense of despondency."

As politicians wrangle ahead of a December deadline over the still-disputed status of the oil-rich Abyei region, straddling the border of Sudan and South Sudan, local church leaders are appealing for help in the face of a potential humanitarian crisis.

Both governments have been asked to approve an African Union proposal to resolve the status of the Abyei region. Sudan is stalling, and while arguments over nationality drag on, thousands of people face near-starvation in villages devastated by the conflict–particularly since May 2011 when a combination of northern militias, led by tanks and 5,000 Sudanese Army troops, destroyed roughly 90 percent of Abyei town.

Now a major humanitarian crisis is unfolding as 20,000 people displaced by fighting start to return to desolate villages, where even water boreholes have been badly damaged, following the withdrawal of Sudanese government troops in June 2012.

But Abyei is still a "no-go" area for most aid agencies, due to tight restrictions imposed ...

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