Our project in Sudan is located in the very remote region of the Nuba Mountains, which is why we can only deliver relief supplies twice a year. The medicines, building materials and food for our hospital in Lwere and the five surrounding health centers then need to last for about six months – and the order must be accurate and well planned ahead.
The delivery and distribution of the approximately 30 tons of material is a logistical challenge: Divided into three aircraft loads, which arrive one after the other on the runway in the southern Sudanese capital Jida, the relief goods are loaded into trucks and cars. Often, the almost 250 kilometers to our hospital in Lwere can often only be covered at walking pace due to bad road conditions and muddy tracks. In good weather conditions, this takes as little as one day, but in the rainy season it can take up to a week. When the goods arrive at the hospital, some of the medicine for the health posts is repacked and gradually distributed to the five health posts.
Two and a half days for a distance of 200 kilometers
With the onset of the rainy season, the distribution to the last two health posts became more difficult: “It was already raining heavily. The roads were awful and could barely be passed, “says Cap Anamur nurse Johannes Plate, who has been working on our project in the Nuba Mountains for two and a half years. “We got stuck five times on the way to the two health posts in Ard Kanan and Koalib. The car suffered a short circuit in the engine room and we had to move several hundredweights of soil, because the car got bogged several times. For a distance of 200 kilometers, we were on the road for two and a half days. But now we have also distributed the last deliveries and all health posts are supplied with medication for the coming months. ”
At the moment, the situation in the Nuba mountains is calmer due to the rainy season. But only in May and June several air raids were flown as part of a government offensive. At the end of May, Lwere, where we have our hospital, also became the target of a bomb attack. No one was killed, but three families lost their homes and their entire property.
BACKGROUND | A country in chronic crisis
In Sudan, a refugee crisis has been going on for decades. Especially the state of South Kordofan, where the Nuba Mountains lie, is affected by permanent fighting between government forces and rebel militias. Since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, this long-disputed region has been even more closely caught up in the crossfire of rivalling interest groups. While the population tends to be on the Southern Sudanese side, the area was officially assigned to the North on the basis of questionable election results.
The Sudanese government not only targets the rebels in this war, but also distinguishes itself in its strategy of rigorously fighting against civilians. Residential areas are deliberately destroyed from the air and on the ground, crops and livestock are looted or burned, water pumps blown up, schools and health centers torn down. Moreover, the government does not shy away from internationally outlawed cluster bombs, whose innumerable explosive devices reduce the inhabitable and cultivable areas for living of the population and render them useless.
Medical care in the Nuba mountains
We are helping the people who have fled to the mountain caves with a medical supply network consisting of a central hospital in Lwere and five health posts within a radius of 100 kilometers. The outposts are satellites of our hospital, and thus we can also provide basic medical care in remote areas. In 2015 alone, we provided care to 60,000 patients at the Lwere hospital and to over 130,000 patients in the five outposts.