News / Africa

Refugees in South Sudan Face Food, Health Crisis

Internally displaced people carry water from outside as they walk toward the entrance of a United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan base in Malakal, Feb. 6, 2014.
Internally displaced people carry water from outside as they walk toward the entrance of a United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan base in Malakal, Feb. 6, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) is warning that tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees in neighboring South Sudan are facing a severe food shortage.  

The agency is helping to care for 130,000 refugees from Sudan’s embattled Blue Nile State.  They are living across the border in South Sudan, in camps in Maban County of Upper Nile state.  

Maban County is not directly affected by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.  But UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards says insecurity and border restrictions along supply corridors have prevented the delivery of relief items since the beginning of the year.

He says in a VOA interview that it is urgent to get food into the refugee camps before the onset of the rains, which will render roads impassible.

“It has been impossible to get food pre-positioned there because of the insecurity we have seen.  And this now is starting to show itself in some very worrisome consequences.  Real shortages of food, growing rates of global and severe acute malnutrition.  We are particularly worried about the impact this may have on people who, as they move - because if you move across from there toward Ethiopia, for example, the conditions are difficult, the route is difficult.  It is likely that people arriving in Ethiopia, should they come there, will be in much worse state still," said Edwards.

Edwards says about one-third of the refugee population is at greatest risk.  It includes children under five, pregnant and lactating women, elderly, the disabled and those who are chronically ill.  

He notes the rains normally start in April, and warns that waterborne diseases, malaria and respiratory tract infections will increase.

“In recent weeks, we have seen several cases of kwashiorkor among very young children in the refugee camps… Kwashiorkor is a form of severe malnutrition to do with protein deficiencies… Food shortages could lead to conflict between refugees and host communities foraging for wild fruits and vegetables.  Already, we have seen tension over grazing lands, over access to open water sources," he said.

The World Food Program has been providing normal food rations for the refugee camps.  But, the agency says the crisis in South Sudan is making it extremely difficult to access this region and re-supply the camps.

Because normal supply routes are disrupted, WFP says it will be using a combination of airlifts and airdrops to replenish the stocks in Maban County.

An estimated 739,000 people in South Sudan have become internally displaced since fighting erupted in mid-December.  The World Food Program so far has provided food to more than 420,000 conflict-affected people.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid