News / Africa

South Sudan Cholera Outbreak Shuts Down Food Stalls

Women purchase grilled chicken from a street vendor in a market in Juba, South Sudan. Outdoor food vendors say inspections by health officials and a drop in clientele during the cholera outbreak are forcing them to shut down.
Women purchase grilled chicken from a street vendor in a market in Juba, South Sudan. Outdoor food vendors say inspections by health officials and a drop in clientele during the cholera outbreak are forcing them to shut down.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
Food vendors and tea sellers in Juba say they are being forced out of business as South Sudanese health officials step up hygiene inspections to try to stem the spread of cholera in the capital. 

Twenty-nine people have died and more than 1,200 have been infected in the recent outbreak, which this week was reported to have spread beyond Juba.

When officials in Juba declared on May 15 there was a cholera outbreak, the mayor of the capital, Christopher Sarafino, said health inspectors would be traveling around the city, shutting down restaurants and tea stalls that did not follow proper hygiene procedures such as having indoor toilets and washrooms and using treated water to wash crockery.

Many food vendors in Juba have been breaking those rules for years by cooking in the open air. This is especially the case in Juba's Nyakuron market, where on Wednesday only a handful of women were still cooking food in the open, running the risk of being shut down by health inspectors and losing what is sometimes the sole source of income for their family.

Shrinking customer base


One of the women, Lukia Chandilu, said the number of people who eat at her stall has dropped since the cholera outbreak began.

"We are just facing so many problems," Chandilu said. "I used to have some customers in my business. These days they have reduced. They are saying they don’t want us to prepare food because we are in an open place,” she said.

Health inspectors say they have to crack down and enforce the rules to save lives. Cholera is transmitted through contaminated food or water and can kill within 24 hours through rapid dehydration, if left untreated. Children and people with weakened immune systems -- such as those suffering from malnutrition -- are especially vulnerable.
 
Since the cholera came, I am not making any profit. I don’t make anything... There is no money at all.
Chandilu said she has set up a handwashing facility and uses clean water to wash her dishes and utensils. But she still prepares food in the open and officials have told her she needs to move to a permanent facility. She said she can't afford to do that.

Lona Bitara relies on the income she makes selling tea in the market to feed her three children and unemployed husband. She said the cholera outbreak is forcing her to shut down her small business.

“Since the cholera came, I am not making any profit. I don’t make anything. I don’t get any money. There is no money at all," she said.

Food prices skyrocket


Lupayi Twaha is a local merchant who sells corn, cassava and beans in the market. He said he can no longer afford to buy food to feed himself because prices have skyrocketed.
 
"We used to get food at five pounds. Nowadays, even from big hotels, it is at 30 pounds," he said. "It has become very difficult for us to get that money. We are suffering here.”
 
But Justin Jogo, a security guard, said he was thankful for the health inspectors' stepped-up vigilance in the midst of the cholera outbreak.

Enforcing hygiene rules and being careful about the conditions food is prepared in is better than getting cholera, he said. "On the way to work, I will not buy things that are outside. Things that are not covered, I will not buy because of cholera," he said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs