After a referendum in which 99 % of its population voted yes to independence, South Sudan declared itself a separate state from Sudan on July 9th 2011. As a result, large numbers of people migrated to South Sudan. However, with the start of the civil war in South Sudan in late 2013 – fought between supporters of the president and the devotees of the dismissed vice president – the numbers of people who have been forced to move north into Sudan dramatically increased. In 2015, the UNHCR cited 1.5 million people displaced within their own country as well as 700.000 people who have fled to neighbouring countries. As a result of the civil war, hunger and poverty have also worsened, creating another reason for the South Sudanese to leave their homes. Relief programmes are highly underfinanced and the UNHCR declared that only 13 % of the needed means are available.
Participating author: Stella Gaitano
Stella Gaitano was born in Khartum, Sudan in 1979. Her family is originally from South Sudan. She studied Pharmacy at the University of Khartum. During her studies she got in touch with intellectuals and political activists, which resulted in her intensifying her literary work and writing about herself, her family and her people. She frequently weighs in on the political situation in Sudan and South Sudan. She also participates in the initiative “Youth For My Country”, which tries to lessen the pain of the many victims of violence in South Sudan through pragmatic, concrete aid programmes. Stella Gaitano currently lives in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
A more detailled biography can be found here.