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

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora