Donough Ryan in South Sudan
Since South Sudan became independent last July it has been tarnished by conflict with north Sudan's civilians suffering the consequences. A Cavan man is playing a prominent role in alleviating as much of the suffering as possible through his work with Trocaire.
Donough Ryan from Arva is heavily involved in getting humanitarian assistance to civilians caught in the conflict in the South Kordofan region. "The situation there is really desperate and it is getting worse," says Donough who was previously based with Trocaire in Nairobi, Kenya. "People have resorted to living in caves to avoid bombs from the air, while the lack of food is leading to widespread malnourishment."
Over 300,000 people are caught in a conflict between the Sudanese government and rebels aligned to South Sudan.
Tens of thousands of people have fled into refugee camps, while those remaining in South Kordofan face aerial bombardment and hunger.
Based in South Sudan since August, Donough and his team are providing medical equipment into the region's only hospital.
"The hospital is built for 80 beds but there are currently over 500 patients in it, suffering everything from missing limbs and facial disfigurement to malnourishment. The staff are working around the clock but without our help they would not have even basic equipment such as anaesthetic," insists Donough who has worked with Trocaire for seven years.
Donough says that people in Cavan can do their part by keeping the situation in South Sudan high profile. A recent campaign by Trocaire asking supporters to contact their local TDs to raise the plight of people in South Kordofan resulted in 18 parliamentary questions on the issue being raised.
He maintains that the international community had a huge role to play in ending the violence.
Through the EU, countries such as Ireland need to put pressure on Sudan to stop the targeting of civilians and to allow full humanitarian access into the affected region, he states.