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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid