News / Africa

Health Situation In South Sudan Refugee Camps Alarming

South Sudan One YearSouth Sudan One Year
x
South Sudan One Year
South Sudan One Year
Lisa Schlein
GENEVA — The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR reports aid agencies are racing to reverse the alarming health situation in South Sudan camps. The UNHCR says aid workers are intensifying efforts to bring down the high rates of malnutrition, disease and death among Sudanese refugees in two camps in Unity State and Upper Nile State.  

The U.N. refugee agency reports South Sudan is now hosting 170,000 Sudanese refugees.  And, it says more are arriving from South Kordofan and Blue Nile every day seeking refuge in, what it calls, some of the most inhospitable places imaginable.  

Many of the 60,000 refugees in Yida camp in Unity state are suffering from a variety of illnesses.  Children make up more than a quarter of this population.  

Health workers in the camp first saw a significant hike in death rates among refugee children in late June and early July.  The group, Doctors Without Borders reports an average of five children are dying every day, mostly from diarrhea and infections.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, says aid agencies are providing emergency treatment and have been working to mitigate the risk of water-borne and hygiene-related diseases.  As a consequence, she says mortality and morbidity rates have stabilized and even decreased in the last three weeks.

But, she says the situation remains extremely worrying.

"This is a race against time basically," said Fleming. "People are coming across in absolutely horrendous, fragile conditions.  They are extremely vulnerable and when the conditions are not fantastic when they cross the border in a place where there is huge flooding and where the food can only be airlifted in.  It is probably one of the most challenging operations for humanitarian aid workers including UNHCR that we have experienced."  

Potable water in Yida camp is in short supply.  The UNHCR so far has dug two out of the six additional boreholes that will double the supply of drinkable water in the camp.   

Fleming says the agency together with the NGO Solidarite is conducting a 40-day bucket cleaning and chlorination campaign at water points.  She says drainage systems are being improved to reduce the risk of contamination and water-diseases from standing water.

She says rains have flooded nearby roads, turning Yida into a virtual island.  Thus, airlifts are the only way to get life-saving aid into the camp.  She says the UNHCR plans to airlift an additional 8,500 plastic sheets and 15,000 mosquito nets for new arrivals.

Meanwhile, she says the situation in Batil camp in Upper Nile state is also of great concern.  She says Sudanese refugees fleeing war and hunger are coming across into South Sudan in a fragile condition.

"This is really pointing to a very dangerous and horrifying situation across the border where reports of shelling continue, where people are not being able to access food and where they are having to trek for days on end to reach safety across the border," she said.

Batil camp houses 35,000 refugees.  The U.N. refugee agency reports one in three children there is believed to be malnourished.  It says the refugees are suffering from watery diarrhea, respiratory tract infections and malaria.  

Aid agencies are setting up therapeutic feeding programs to help children recover from moderate acute to severe acute malnutrition.  Health agencies have set up surveillance centers to monitor for possible outbreaks of diarrheal and other diseases.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid