Author Archives: usassca

Humanitarian Team Poised To Enter South Sudan

I saw firsthand what war can do to families while in Iraq and Afghanistan. The refugees in Sudan that we are going to help have experienced tragedy on a colossal scale under circumstances we can hardly imagine. If they had been born in the US, they may be on their way to college in the fall, instead they’re hundreds of miles from their home, living in squalor and fear.” –Ford Sypher, Team Rubicon Element Leader in South Sudan

Today we launched a five person team in conjunction with the International Medical Corps to respond to a growing refugee crisis in South Sudan. At Yusuf Batil, a refugee camp cut off from recent heavy rains near the North Sudanese border, the situation is rapidly becoming dire. The population at the camp has swelled in recent weeks to over six-times capacity (from 6,000 to nearly 40,000), creating a perilous health, sanitation and security problem. Over 110,000 refugees are expected in the region over the next few weeks.

Meet the South Sudan Team

Ford Sypher – Team Leader EMT-I in 3/75 Ranger Regiment. Ford has served as TL on two prior TR deployments and extensive medical and mass casualty triage and management.

Dr. Alan Koslow – Trauma & Vascular Surgeon Previous experience includes two 10-day missions to Haiti, four mission trips to Israel, and El Salvador 2002 earthquake response.

Dr. April Kranz – Pediatrician/Family Practitioner International experience: USNS Mercy, U.S. Navy Hospital Ship to Indonesia, Hillside Belize Medical Clinic, and Maternal and Infant Nutrition Program Buguruka, Tanzania.

Philip Rapp – Civil Engineer Extensive experience in infrastructure repair. Deployed to Haiti, Colombia, Katrina, and many other disaster zones to build medical clinics and WASH systems.

Rama Mutyala – Civil Engineer/GIS Analyst Navy SEABEE served in OIF and OEF. Led 25-man, four month humanitarian mission to Central and South America to build out WASH and electrical systems

Team Rubicon’s five-person element, led by Army Ranger veteran and TR Region VII Field Operations Director Ford Sypher, consists of doctors and civil engineers who will help to construct adequate shelter, build latrines, establish hygiene standards and implement a “neighborhood watch” security program to reduce the risk of violence and sexual assault. We are prepared to continuously send teams to augment IMC’s efforts at Yusuf Batil if needed.

This past week has presented a ‘perfect storm’ of disasters and response opportunities–from a refugee crisis in South Sudan, to hundred year floods in Duluth, MN, to raging fires in Colorado, and a major tropical storm bearing down on our Gulf Shores. Team Rubicon is assessing ways to engage our Veteran Emergency Response Teams in all of these instances, and will continue to use military veterans to lead the charge in disaster relief!

Finally, our ability to engage military veterans in disaster response is only capable because of the continued support that you show for our organization. Military veterans are expertly trained and experienced first responders, and with your help we can give them a new opportunity to serve their community and the world.

Will you support o

This is the camp Kilometer 18 that my team will be going to. This report posted June 23.

The world's humanitarian news site

Sudanese refugees dying as water runs out – MSF

Sat, 23 Jun 2012 01:09 GMT

Source: alertnet // Drazen Jorgic

A woman carries water from a water hole near Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State March 10, 2012. REUTERS/Hereward Holland

By Drazen Jorgic

NAIROBI (AlertNet) – Sudanese refugees who are stranded in South Sudan with almost no water will start dying in large numbers unless aid agencies respond immediately to what is now a “full blown emergency”, the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres has warned.

Some 16,000 people are camped along a dirt road in Upper Nile State after fleeing fighting between the army and rebels in neighbouring Sudan. MSF said they would run out of water in eight days.

Aid workers say refugees in the region are already dying of dehydration and diarrhoea.

“Agencies involved (need) to switch gear and realise this is a full blown emergency – they cannot plan for weeks or months to make it perfect. They have to step up activities right now,” Voitek Asztabski, MSF’s emergency coordinator for Upper Nile State, told AlertNet in Nairobi.

“So switch the gear to emergency and realise the seriousness of the situation because otherwise we are going to lose people like flies.”

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) is racing to move the refugees by truck from the makeshift site, dubbed K18, to a new camp 60km away before the rainy season makes routes impassable.

MSF warned that if there were heavy rains in the next week refugees would be left stranded without water in an area where temperatures climb to over 40 degrees Celsius during the day.

Even if it rains a lot the refugees will not be able collect sufficient water to survive, aid workers say.

MSF estimates around 35,000 refugees fleeing violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile State have crossed the border into South Sudan’s Upper Nile State over the last five weeks, taking the total number of refugees in camps in the state to around 110,000.

Fighting erupted in Sudan’s South Kordofan State in June 2011 and spread to nearby Blue Nile in September. Khartoum accuses South Sudan, which became an independent country last year, of supporting rebels in the border states, but Juba denies this.

Aid workers say many of the recent arrivals are exhausted after spending months in the bush hiding from fighting.

The refugees at K18 moved there after running out of water at another site known as K43 several weeks ago.

“It was a horrifying journey …. With my own eyes I saw people dying of dehydration, people eating tree barks and leaves,” Asztabski said.

“We are basically facing the same situation (in K18).”


MSF called for supplies and services to be boosted at the new site called Camp Batil and another site, Camp Jamam, where 35,000 refugees are based and water is scarce.

The agency said they urgently needed hydro geologists who could discover where to drill for water. UNHCR said on Friday it had received positive tests on two boreholes in Batil.

Arjan Hehenlamp, general director of MSF Holland, said Batil also needed food, tents and medical facilities.

He said the terrain was difficult to work in but added that aid agencies on the ground were partly to blame for the deteriorating situation.

“It is clear to me, having been there and spoken to refugees and some of my team that the aid response in the first couple of weeks of this dramatic influx was woefully insufficient,” Hehenlamp told journalists in Nairobi.

Refugees at K18 told Reuters this week that Sudan’s armed forces were attacking villages in Blue Nile with warplanes, helicopters and troops, killing civilians and torching settlements.

Sudanese army and civilian officials strongly deny the allegations.

Surgeon to Nuba to evaluate medical needs: Will blog here as often as he can.

Dr. Alan Koslow a Des Moines surgeon will be joining a team to evaluate and organize a newly formed refugee camp.  Three weeks ago a humanitarian disaster of almost unprecedented proportions began to occur.  A new refugee camp has sprung up with 30,000 refugees currently and an expected 40,000 to pass through shortly.  1,000 are joining the camp daily, which has no  sanitation, shelter, safe water, food or medical care. Team Rubicon , an organization of veterans dedicated to international and national disaster relieve, is organizing the mission at the request of International Medical Corps (IMC) .  The goal of the team, as the first NGO on site, will be to evaluate the situation and plan the response to this humanitarian disaster.  There will be sanitation, housing water, food and medical experts on the team.  Dr. Koslow will be responsible for evaluating the actual and potential medical problems and what will be needed to treat and prevent them.

The team will leave Monday June 25, 2012 and return July 15, 2012. The team will be headed by Team Rubicon board member Andrew Stevens.    Andrew Stevens works as the Alaska state planner for critical infrastructure and heads the security vulnerability assessment team for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Prior to this he worked as the community emergency planner for the division. A former U.S. Marine, he acted as an Assistant Operation Chief and react team leader for Tango 5/11 during the initial assault on Iraq in 2003. Dr. Koslow has nine international medical mission under his belt.  This includes Haiti ten days after the earthquake when he did 32 emergency operation but saved over 60 more non-surgical cases.

In addition to poverty South Sudan remains in conflict with Sudan over the border with both armed forces attacking each other’s territory. There are regular of exchanges of rockets and artillery fire between the south Sudan and Sudan armed forces. Sudan has also been accused of aerial bombings of South Sudan territory along the disputed border towns. The refugee camps have not experienced any attack but an out of target bombing incident by the north Sudan cannot be ruled out.

The refugee camp in South Sudan:

Maban, Upper Nile state, South Sudan refugee complex
Hofra refugee camp is located in the Upper Nile state of South Sudan.  It is a transit site (30 km from the disputed Sudan – south Sudan border) was set up in mid May in order to move refugees further away from the Sudan border of El-Fuj site (10 km from south Sudan border) due to security concerns. According to UNHCR, the transit site currently hosts 30,000 refugees who are on transit to other refugee camps of Batil, Doro and Jamam and are composed of Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, primarily fleeing from Sudan’s Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. The location is remote, flood prone and lacks adequate water. UNHCR also estimates that an additional 40,000 refugees will be crossing the border via El-Fuj to Hofra in the next few weeks.

The International Medical Corps:

IMC’s Background in South Sudan:
International Medical Corps began implementing programs in South Sudan more than a decade before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed. Early programs focused on delivery of primary and secondary health services, as well as the reduction of neglected tropical diseases including River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) among others.
International Medical Corps works in rural and urban areas focusing on improving immediate and long-term health service provision. Their work in 49 primary and secondary health facilities impacts nine counties across four states on both sides of the Nile River. Through these and other structures, International Medical Corps serves more than 483,000 refugees, returnees, and other vulnerable populations with a fully integrated package of public health services such as primary health care (including maternal and child health), secondary health care, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, Water/Sanitation, and capacity building programs.
The civil war ended in 2005 with the signing of the CPA giving South Sudan autonomy and its people the right to self-determination through a referendum on independence after six years. The referendum took place in January 2011 and the Republic of South Sudan became a sovereign state on July 9, 2011. However, despite many successes under the CPA, South Sudan remains one of the most underdeveloped areas in the world.

Dr. Koslow will be available in Des Moines until 2 PM Sunday June 24, 2012.  He will also be blogging on his facebook page and at the Blog Help Nuba


Welcome from U.S.A.S.S.C.A.

This is the future home of the United Sudanese and South Sudanese Communities Association. USASSCA works to unite the diaspora Sudanese and South Sudanese communities for the betterment of all. Our hope is that through our cooperation, we will help to bring Justice, Equality, Liberty and Peace to all of the peoples of Sudan and South Sudan.

For more information, please contact us at