An Iowa physician is spending the next three weeks helping establish a new refugee camp in South Sudan, where United Nations officials report growing numbers of Sudanese are fleeing hunger and violence. Dr. Alan Koslow says many refugees, including children, are dying daily for lack of adequate food and water.

“The more I look at the situation there, the more I’m struck by the enormity of the problem,” Koslow said. “I’m fearful, not for my personal safety, but of my personal inadequacies to rise to the task of probably one of the largest humanitarian disasters in many a year.”

The mission is being sponsored by the non-governmental organization International Medical Corps. Koslow, a vascular surgeon in Des Moines, is one of two doctors on a team evaluating the needs of the tens of thousands of refugees.

“There is no food, water, shelter or sanitation. So I’m going to be part of a team of seven experts in sanitation, housing – especially housing for refugee situations – food and water. I’m going to be on the medical component of the team and we’re going to assess what needs to be done for these people,” Koslow said.

The group will make recommendations about what kinds of medicines and other supplies need to be brought in to the camp. Koslow leaves today on the trip.