Around 80,000 people fled after the North Sudanese army seized the disputed Abyei region in Southern Sudan, a southern official told Reuters on Friday.

Some have died in the process due to thirst and insufficient supply of food, while others took shelter in the hut town of Mayen Abom.

“The situation is going worse. People are sleeping under the trees. They need food and water, Dominic Deng, commissioner of the southern Twic country in south Sudan bordering Abyei told Reuters.

President Omar al-Bashir is backing some Arab herdsmen into the south, especially into Abyei, which is a major oil spot. It is also the major source of friction between the north and the south.