News / Africa

Refugee Crisis in South Sudan Is Getting Worse

A woman waits in queue to collect water at Yusuf Batil refugee camp, Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.A woman waits in queue to collect water at Yusuf Batil refugee camp, Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
x
A woman waits in queue to collect water at Yusuf Batil refugee camp, Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
A woman waits in queue to collect water at Yusuf Batil refugee camp, Upper Nile, South Sudan, July 4, 2012.
Kelly J. Kelly
Over 170,000 refugees are living in refugee camps in South Sudan's Unity and Upper Nile states, a number that has almost doubled since last April. Most of the refugees are coming from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan, where ongoing fighting between the SPLA-N and Sudanese government troops has displaced civilians.

Kitty Mckinsey, a spokesperson for the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), said refugees are fleeing  “mainly because of the fighting, but the fighting has also made it impossible to farm, so some say they’re just going hungry at home.”

Mckinsey described the refugee's condition as serious, partly because many had never seen a doctor in their home villages.

"Then they walk for days or even weeks, so when they arrive at the refugee camps they’re already exhausted, maybe dehydrated, they maybe haven’t eaten, so they’re in a state where they could easily get sick if they’re not already sick,” Mckinsey said.

In a media briefing, the UNHCR's Deputy Director of the Division of Programme Support and Management, Paul Spiegel, said that refugees were making their way through the rain to the remote camps on roads that are almost non-existent.

The rainy season has made refugees even more susceptible to illnesses such as respiratory tract infections and malaria. Siegal said children under five are dying at rates the U.N. considers emergency levels. But the rainy season has also made getting food and other supplies to the camps much more difficult.

In the meantime, U.N. spokesperson Kitty Mckinsey said refugees are doing what they can to stay well.   

“We’re training some of the refugees themselves and we work with other partners to go around and impress upon the refugees the importance of what we in the west would consider really basic stuff, like washing their hands, going to the health center the second anybody in the family has diarrhea, washing their buckets, washing their jerry cans, and all these really basic precautions so that they don’t get sick, or if they do get sick they don’t pass their illness on to anyone else,” Mckinsey said.

She added that the situation, while very serious, is not hopeless. Already campaigns to improve hygiene and immunizations are helping. But with South Sudan's oil revenues on hold while Sudanese and South Sudanese leaders continue to negotiate oil transportation fees and other issues, the refugees' host country cannot offer them much more than land and sympathy.


UNHCR Refugee Crisis In South Sudan
UNHCR Refugee Crisis In South Sudani
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid