Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 2:32 pm
Families wait for hours to register at the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan along the northern border in early July. Within a few weeks, the population of the camp more than doubled, leading to shortages of food, water and medicine.
Credit Paula Bronstein / Getty Images
It's been only a year since South Sudan became an independent nation. But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported last month, the young county is already facing major challenges.
One of these is a growing population of refugees at the northern border, where conditions have become so dire in the past few weeks that aid workers are now calling it a "health catastrophe."
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on a seven-country trip through Africa, talking about strengthening democracies, building economic growth. Yesterday, she dropped in South Sudan - that's the world's newest country - to encourage the infant nation. But she warned of so many challenges ahead. NPR's John Burnett was in South Sudan when the secretary was, and he joins us now on the line from Nairobi. Hi, John.
The teachers' staff-room is a charming thatched building adjacent to the classrooms overlooking the dusty recreation and assembly ground at Good Hope Basic Primary School in Bentiu, the capital of oil-rich Unity State in South Sudan.
Bentiu is near the disputed border with Sudan and within striking distance of Sudanese fighter jets and warplanes.