News / Africa

Measles Reported Among South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda

South Sudanese refugees line up for food at the Tzaipi refugee camp in Adjumani, 471 km (293 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 17, 2014.
South Sudanese refugees line up for food at the Tzaipi refugee camp in Adjumani, 471 km (293 miles) north of Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 17, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency is starting a mass immunization campaign to contain the spread of measles among South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.  The Ugandan Ministry of Health confirms an outbreak of this killer disease among the more than 59,000 South Sudanese who crossed the border since fighting erupted across South Sudan last month.  

So far, the Ugandan Ministry of Health reports it has registered five cases of measles, and three suspected cases among refugees in the Arua area, near the border with South Sudan.  

The U.N. refugee agency says the immunization campaign will cover all refugee and Ugandan children in the Arua and Adjumani districts under age 15.

UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says there will be a concerted effort to reach all newly-arriving refugee children after this mass vaccination campaign ends.  He says the children will be systematically screened to make sure they all are protected.

“We are still receiving around about 250 refugees a day at the reception center in Adjumani.  Recent arrivals appearing visibly weaker-much less luggage.  It appears people are coming from rather further afield in South Sudan than we have had until now," said Edwards.

Edwards says the outbreak of measles among this vulnerable group is not altogether surprising.  He tells VOA conditions in the overcrowded, squalid transit camps are likely to be a breeding ground for the spread of disease.  

He says the areas in northern Uganda to which the South Sudanese refugees are fleeing are designed to cope with a few hundred people - not the many thousands who have arrived.

“This has put enormous pressure on the areas into which people come-pressures of all kinds.  In simply housing people, in getting sanitation and water there, health risks have been a major concern in this environment.  I think in that sense, it is not entirely surprising that we are seeing something like this happening," he said.

At the moment, he says measles is only being reported from Uganda.  He says no similar outbreaks have been reported from other countries to which refugees are fleeing.  

The UNHCR reports more than 100,000 South Sudanese have entered Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan since mid-December.

South Sudan’s government and rebels signed a ceasefire agreement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Thursday.  They have pledged to stop the fighting, which has killed thousands of people, within 24 hours.  The UNHCR welcomed the ceasefire, though rebels Friday accused the government of breaking it.

It says it hopes the ceasefire will be implemented quickly to avert further displacement within and outside the country.  In the meantime, UNHCR spokesman Edwards says his agency continues to hear reports from inside South Sudan of more people preparing to cross into Uganda.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid