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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More