News / Africa

In South Sudan, Once Bustling Malakal Now a Ghost-town

A woman walks through the UNMISS camp in Malakal, where rain has turned the dirt paths into mud.
A woman walks through the UNMISS camp in Malakal, where rain has turned the dirt paths into mud.

"I have never seen conditions like these in my life."

That's how World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman Challiss McDonough described what she saw when she visited at the U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) compound in Malakal last week with WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin and UNICEF head Anthony Lake.

Around 17,000 people have sought shelter at the U.N. base in the capital of Upper Nile state that has witnessed some of the worst fighting in South Sudan's seven-month conflict.

There's only activity in a couple of places and this enormous population living in a lake of mud at the U.N. base.

"People are living on top of each other, and it's the rainy season now," McDonough said. "The place where people are staying has turned into a sea of mud."

During the U.N. officials' visit to the UNMISS camp, "We got caught in a downpour that turned the place into a giant raging river," she said.

From trading hub to ghost-town

Outside the walls of the U.N. compound, the town of Malakal itself has been turned from a bustling trading post on the banks of the White Nile River into a ghost-town, McDonough said.

"Malakal is one of the larger cities in South Sudan, and today it's practically abandoned," she said.

Shrubbery has overtaken parts of the South Sudan town of Malakal that used to be bustling with activity.
Shrubbery has overtaken parts of the South Sudan town of Malakal that used to be bustling with activity.

"You see streets that have grown up with tall grasses, shrubs, sorghum but eight months ago, it was a thriving bustling city with many thousands of people living there.

"Now, there's only activity in a couple of places, and this enormous population living in a lake of mud at the U.N. base," McDonough said.

Aid agencies are working as best they can to prevent disease outbreaks at the UNMISS camp, McDonough said.

You see streets that have grown up with tall grasses, shrubs, sorghum. It's completely abandoned.

"But they need additional resources and  more space," not just for displaced South Sudanese but also for  humanitarian workers, who are living in the same "appalling conditions" as the displaced in the U.N. camp in Malakal.

Government and opposition forces have fought pitched battles for control of Malakal, the capital of South Sudan's largest oil-producing state.

When the fighting first reached the town in late December, tens of thousands of people fled, either to rural areas that they considered safe or to the U.N. compound.

But, since then, "the fighting has spread from the cities to the rural areas where people initially felt safe... and the people have had to move again and again and again," McDonough said. 

World Food Program's Challiss McDonough says South Sudan's Malakal a ghost-town
World Food Program's Challiss McDonough says South Sudan town of Malakal a ghost-town i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 

 

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Deng kuol lualdit from: Aweil
August 03, 2014 4:02 PM
We citizen of south sudan are only hopping Almighty God to help us from the power greedy leaders not only south sudanese but also white farmers plus Igad who r enjoying the complication of peace talk in addis ababa

by: koug from: Cairo
July 30, 2014 2:59 PM
Really I feeling very sorry my city's town was been disdoryed Malakal by Nuer people killing innocent people because they're not human being ...We help would to saving our people's life please we need your our people's going to deaths.

by: McOyit from: Cape Town
July 30, 2014 1:40 PM
I feel so sorry for people of my home city Malakal. Thousands have lost their lives and thousands are starving plus thousands are live in extremely terrible humanitarian situation in South Sudan, just simply because of one called rebel and another one protecting his government.

Shame on u guys! Anyone who did bad against people of South Sudan, will never walk Away and go free! Even some people see themselves above the law, but God is watching.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs