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Date: Sun. Jun. 10 2012 10:25 PM ET
A humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is worsening as thousands of refugees continue to flood into the country from Sudan, where the government is accused of waging a violent campaign against South Sudan's predominantly African population.
CTV Calgary's Kevin Green travelled to the region to get a first-hand look at the conditions in the refugee camps.
Yida refugee camp is located just 24 kilometres inside the newly drawn and highly disputed border between Sudan and South Sudan, which became an independent state in July 2011.
The camp is also less than 30 kilometres away from the frontline of the violence.
The camp population has swelled to more than 35,000 people, with another 500 people arriving daily.
The United Nations will not label Yida a "refugee" camp, stating that it's too close to the border and the conflict. Instead the UN refers to it as a "transit" camp, and therefore does not provide refugees with long-term aid such as education and supplies for agriculture.
This leaves the bulk of the work to non-governmental organizations and aid groups.
Aid workers at Yida admit they face immense difficulties.
John Clayton is the Canadian director of Samaritan's Purse, the largest aid group in Yida. He told Green that with the growing population, resources at the camp are stretched.
"This is a difficult place to live in because it's not set up for 30,000 people to live in," Clayton said. "There's just enough water for the people who live here, probably just enough and there's not enough sanitation facilities."
Aid workers say many of the arrivals at the camp are children who have been separated from their parents by Sudanese soldiers.
The children arrive after travelling for days, alone and unprotected -- a particularly dangerous feat for young girls.
Girls who arrive at the camp are especially vulnerable, said child protection manager Gabriela Ovington.
"There's risks of violence against the girls because they have no family structure to protect them, which is what they would normally have in the camp," she said. "So anyone roving or whatever they have no more protection from that."
Pneumonia and diarrhea are rampant in the camp and pose serious risks to the children, many of whom arrive to the camp already sick and near death, according to aid workers.
Despite the undeniably hard life at the camp, there are few options for many of the refugees.
David Phillips, Sudan Country Director at Samaritan's Purse, said life at the camp is still far better than what many of the refugees left behind.
"As bad as a refugee camp can be, it's not a place where people are trying to shoot you or rape you just because you are there," he said.
Seasonal rains are soon expected to hit the region, which officials say will slow the attacks that drive refugees to the camp. However, the rain will also slow the delivery of vital food, medicine and supplies.
With a report from CTV Calgary's Kevin Green
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