November 22, 2011
Situation in Doro, eastern Upper Nile State, South Sudan - Plans for a Permanent UN Camp
Through various sources, we’ve been able to gather some information on the situation in Doro. What we do know: Tens of thousands of refugees are streaming in from Blue Nile region, and have camped out at Doro, as they are not allowed in the neighboring trading center of Bunj. The sea of people stretches for many kilometers.
We have heard that conditions are very bad. Young and old are suffering, as they have walked many kilometers without adequate food or water. (Some have been walking for up to a month, coming from Blue Nile Region.) Last night, temperatures dropped to 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius), leaving blankets and clothing wet from heavy dew, presenting a risk of hypothermia. The UN has now assumed responsibility for refugees in this area (they are “wards” of the UN), and our understanding is that the UN plans to set up a permanent camp in Doro.
In regards to security, there have been no bombings within Upper Nile region since the last incident in New Guffa. Many bombings have been reported inside Blue Nile State (ie. Chali, Yabus airstrip, Bellatuma), and theoretically, bombing in Doro is still a possibility. However, two SPLA (army of South Sudan) divisions have formed a defensive curtain along the border between South Sudan and Sudan. Many have cited the possibility of cross-border militia attacks.
As of now, the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) has a presence in Doro, along with a handful of other volunteers from various NGOs. The Doro Primary Health Care Unit is currently being operated by our Community Health Workers, trained by Barb Hartwig and Vicki Beattie in the CHW program. Dr. Atar, a Sudanese doctor from Kurmuk, has set up his operations in Bunj clinic, with support from Samaritan’s Purse (SP). SP is sending an assessment team of 3-4 people into Doro this week to determine the current situation, and to do a basic security, health and WASH (Water and Sanitation) assessment. SIM is open to sending in a similar team for assessment purposes, to determine what the current patient load is at the clinic, and to collect accurate data on the situation in Doro.
Now that Doro village is host to tens of thousands of refugees, we believe that the human landscape of Doro area has been completely altered. Our brothers and sisters from the SIC church of Blue Nile have scattered to Ethiopia and to Bunj. God’s people, who became a church through SIM’s efforts, are now in trouble again.
We covet your prayers as we wrestle with these questions, desiring to be sensitive to God’s leading.
· Pray that SIM’s Safe Drinking Water program, based in Doro can respond through our borehole drilling partners
· Pray for protection for the young and the old
· Pray for permanent camp facilities to develop quickly
· Entreat the Lord for workers to help reopen the SIM Doro PHCC
· Pray that the bombing and militia attacks in Blue Nile would cease