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Sudans conflict leaves 37,000 desperate for water, agency says

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 27, 2012 -- Updated 1013 GMT (1813 HKT)
  • 37,000 people need to be moved urgently, Oxfam says
  • "The situation is getting more desperate by the day," Oxfam says
  • South Sudan split from Sudan last year
  • Despite the split, unresolved issues remain

(CNN) -- The spiraling conflict between the Sudans has exacerbated issues for tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees who are desperate for water and facing the threat of fatal diseases, an international aid organization says.

As South Sudan and Sudan continue to battle over border and oil issues, 37,000 refugees in South Sudan's Jamam camp are running out of time, Oxfam said.

"There is simply not enough ground water available to sustain the growing number of people who need it," said Pauline Ballaman, head of Oxfam's operations at the camp. "Women have to queue for hours in the burning sun just to collect a fraction of the water they need, and the situation is getting more desperate by the day. The only solution is for people to be moved urgently."

Oxfam says this large number of refugees fled to the camp since December and more are on their way.

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South Sudan split from Sudan last year as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war in Africa's largest nation. The war left 2 million people dead and ended with the peace agreement that included an independence referendum for the south.

Despite the split in July, unresolved issues remain between the two, including status of their citizens, division of national debt, disputed border areas and sharing of oil wealth.

Simmering tensions peaked this month when South Sudan seized the oil-producing region of Heglig from Sudan, raising the stakes by targeting a resource that fuels the economies of both nations.

Heglig oil facilities account for about half of Sudan's production of 115,000 barrels a day.

Sudan claims ownership for the region, and lodged complaints with the United Nations and the African Union to pressure South Sudan to withdraw troops from its territory.

A day after South Sudan withdrew from the disputed region, it accused Sudan of launching ground and aerial attacks on its territory.

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