South Sudan: Death in the Nuba Mountains

Relief organizations unload humanitarian supplies at a rebel-controlled airstrip in the Nuba Mountains on July. 5, 2011, at the begining of the conflict. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2011.

Hawa, a political leader in the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), sits in her hotel in the Nuba Mountains on July 6, 2011. She was forced to flee from a camp next to the U.N. compound in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan state, after members of Khartoum's Public Defense Forces started shooting anyone associated with the SPLM. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2011.

Drawings of a battle in a destroyed hut in Braum, a town razed to the ground by the northern army, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF). A surprise counterattack by the SPLA-North -- the SPLM-aligned rebel military force -- shortly afterward drove the SAF soldiers back to the state capital, leaving much of their military equipment behind. The SPLA-North attributes much of its success to its ability to take weapons and supplies from the less-committed SAF. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A truck stops to repair a tire late in the night on the only road in and out of the SPLA-North controlled areas of the Nuba Mountains. Rainy season makes the road impassable. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

An SPLA-North solider heals after having his leg amputated weeks after war broke out between the Nuba army and Khartoum. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A dead SAF soilder lies on the edge of the road on the outskirts of Kadugli, then the scene of fierce fighting between the SPLA and SAF forces. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

Two female SPLA-North soldiers at a training camp in the Nuba Mountains. Thousands of farmers and students have joined the rebel army. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

Nuba volunteers train at the outbreak of the war. Today, these troops have graduated and are fighting on the front lines. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

SPLA fighters prepare for an attack on a garrison of SAF forces in Tolodi using weapons captured in previous battles. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A house destroyed by SAF bombardment in a remote village. The attack killed one man and sent the entire village fleeing into the nearby mountains. Bombing civilian targets appears to be a concerted strategy by Khartoum. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

Nuban refugees pile into the back of a truck heading toward Yida, a refugee camp in South Sudan. The number of refugees at Yida has escalated dramatically in recent months, to an estimated 65,000, with hundreds more arriving daily. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A child stands in front of the Nuba Mountains cave where his community fled after their town, Tess, was destroyed by SAF. Starvation and bombings have separated thousands of children from their families. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A girl carries firewood she collected through the unaccompanied minors section of the Yida refugee camp. The U.N. refuses to officially recognize the camp, which is close to the North-South border, for fear of being seen as supporting the rebels. Aid has started flowing into the camp, however. Image by Trevor Snapp. South Sudan, 2012.

A women living in a cave, where she fled with her family after her village was destroyed by fighting. Many survive on leaves from trees and from eating the seeds they had hoped to plant this rainy season. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

A family plants corn on its land in the Nuba Mountains after returning from living in caves in the hillsides after the war broke out in July 2011. Civilian bombing campaigns have interrupted the planting season, as many have fled to the hills to seek shelter. "We are afraid of the bombs, but if we don't plant we will die anyway," the father said. Image by Trevor Snapp. Sudan, 2012.

In the year since the new nation of South Sudan celebrated its first independence day, Khartoum has waged a war against the people of the Nuba Mountains and the neighboring state of Blue Nile -- two areas sympathetic to the South that remained in Sudan when the country split apart last year. Khartoum, broke and unable to suppress a growing rebellion, has resorted to a brutal bombing campaign that seems designed to terrorize the Nuba, who number a little over 1 million people spread across some 19,000 square miles, into fleeing south.

Many families initially hid in caves in the rugged mountains to escape the bombardment. But now, after missing last year's harvest, Nubas are facing a much more deadly weapon: starvation.

Thousands of hungry families have made their way south to Yida, a refugee camp across the border in South Sudan. The United Nations and its associated agencies have shunned the camp, worried that providing relief would only fuel the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile, Khartoum refuses to grant aid agencies permission to cross the border, allowing the Sudanese regime to continue using hunger as a weapon of war.

Photographer Trevor Snapp documented the beginning of this round of conflict, in July 2011, and this year's more recent escalation to a humanitarian emergency.