Danish Demining Group

Vulnerabilities in Batil Camp

13.07.12

Three members of the Elders, among them Archbishop Desmond Tutu, visited Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Maban in South Sudan on Sunday. The camp managed by the Danish Refugee Council, was set up less than two months ago and is now sheltering 31,000 Sudanese refugees.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martti Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president, along with Mary Robinson, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visited Yusuf Batil Camp on Sunday as members of The Elders, an independent grouping of 12 respected public figures dedicated to promoting peace and human rights and to finding solutions for other global problems.

"Even with the care they are receiving through UNHCR and other humanitarian actors, it is unacceptable that people who had their own lives, rearing livestock and living with dignity, can be made to live in this fashion," said a moved Archbishop Tutu after the visit.

The Batil camp was established less than two months ago in cooperation between UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council to address the pressure from refugees fleeing fighting and conflict in Blue Nile State in Sudan. The number of refugees and their humanitarian needs have overwhelmed the international society and the organizations are working hard to meet the needs of the thousands of new refugees that are severely weakened when arriving in the camps.

“The influx of new arrivals in Yusuf Batil camp have left us all astounded – people that can barely walk, blind and in many cases children taking care of their grandparents have managed to make it over large distances and with only a little water and hardly any food. When hearing their stories it is shocking to think people managed to make it this far in their condition,” says Camilla Winther Kragelund, Emergency Team Leader for DRC in Maban, South Sudan.

The DRC protection team has been conducting a vulnerability survey in the camp to try and identify the most vulnerable for assistance.

"Assistance will not be much, but in many cases something as simple as an extra tarpaulin or blanket can help provide a little more dignity to the severe vulnerable. But even though the assistance needed are sometimes simple – providing it in a place like a northern province of South Sudan is no little task,” says Camilla Winther Kragelund, explaining that the malnutrition rate among the refugees is alarming and that a very high number of children are dependent on special food to survive.

 

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