Reference : V-P-SS-E-00093
Date : 03/2012
Country/Region : SOUTH SUDAN
Caption : Upper Nile State, Jamam, refugee camp. Water is desperately scarce in this camp and people form long lines at taps in 40 degrees of heat. Frustration mounts and fights sometimes break out.
Photographer : STODDART, Tom
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : Getty Images/CICR
Description : ICRC website, Photo gallery, 16-05-2012

South Sudan: struggling for survival as conflict intensifies

People living in the border region between South Sudan and Sudan are struggling to survive in an area gripped by armed violence that continues to escalate. Getty photographer Tom Stoddart captures their struggle and the ICRC's efforts to help them.

The Jamam refugee camp in Upper Nile State houses 36,500 vulnerable people who have fled across the border from their homes in Blue Nile state to escape the ongoing fighting in the border region.

Nearby at a dried up watering hole, every day dozens of thirsty children dig deep holes and caves into the parched earth to scoop up cups of muddy water.

Sarah Yabura aged 16 says "Getting water from the holes is very dangerous. I'm afraid of the snakes. Life here is difficult and it will get much worse during the rainy season because this area will be flooded. Our whole family is here except my grandmother who stayed in Blue Nile. I have no hope for the future because there is no school here, no good life and my future is dark".
People are weakened by vomiting and diarrhoea but NGO's believe the real danger will come when the rains arrive in a few weeks time.
Marcel Pelletier, a water engineer with the ICRC says, "In my ten years' experience as a water engineer in conflict-affected areas, I would say the water shortage in Jamam is as severe as anything I've seen. It is a desperate situation. There is no excess water for washing; it is all used for cooking and drinking. People are digging by hand into the ground on the site of dried-up watering holes and scooping up any water they find. These people are thirsty and are spending six hours outside with jerry cans in the intense heat. The rains will come in about 5 weeks. Far from being the solution, the rains will actually make things worse. The lowland where animals now gaze and which people used as a toilet will flood, turning it into a vast contaminated lake. With no clean water nearby, people will drink directly from it. The health risk is glaring; deadly water-related diseases could sweep through the camp like wildfire. We have a real humanitarian crisis on our hands. We only have weeks to prevent it getting worse and indeed spinning out of control."

Original material : digital
Resolution : 5616x3744
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour