News / Africa

UNHCR: Hepatitis E Epidemic Growing in S. Sudan

Female child refugees who escaped violence on Sudan's side of the disputed border queue up inside Yida refugee camp, South Sudan, June 30, 2012.
Female child refugees who escaped violence on Sudan's side of the disputed border queue up inside Yida refugee camp, South Sudan, June 30, 2012.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency warns that the risk of hepatitis E is growing in refugee camps in South Sudan and that it has run out of cash and fears it may not be able to contain an outbreak of the disease.
 
UNHCR, various aid agencies and national health authorities in South Sudan are already fighting an outbreak of Hepatitis E in Upper Nile and Unity states. The disease is endemic in these regions and a threat to some 175,000 Sudanese refugees who are sheltering there.
 
The UNHCR reports more than 1,000 refugees already have become ill with Hepatitis E, a virus that is contracted and spread through contaminated food and water. The disease damages the liver and can be fatal.
 
According to UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards, 26 refugees have died in camps in Upper Nile, 10 since mid-September.
 
“The risk of infection is high in densely populated settings such as refugee camps," he said, explaining that women and small children are most vulnerable, and early diagnosis is crucial for the survival. "This is further exacerbated in the rainy season, due to flooding and poor sanitation."
 
The U.N. agency, he added, is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which has sent six staff to test water and blood samples, and conduct house-to-house interviews on hygiene practices.
 
Fighting is still going on in Sudan’s Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, where rebels are battling the government. Due to the escalating conflict, the UNHCR says it expects between 30,000 and 40,000 new refugees to cross into South Sudan in the coming weeks, as soon as the rainy season ends and roads become passable.
 
Edwards says the new arrivals will heighten the current situation and increase the risk of Hepatitis E spreading among the refugee population.
 
He says the UNHCR and other aid agencies are taking measures to counter the spread of the disease among the 175,000 refugees already in South Sudan.
 
“We are promoting better hygiene practices through hundreds of trained community workers," he said. "In all camps, the community outreach includes active case finding. We have also been working to improve the supply of clean water in the camps, as well as to upgrade latrines, and provide more hand washing-stations and soap.”
 
There is no treatment for acute hepatitis. Prevention is considered the most effective approach against the disease. Edwards says the measures that are in place are helping to slow the spread of the disease, but that agencies are struggling to provide each refugee with a minimum of 15 to 20 liters of safe drinking water per day and build enough latrines.
 
UNHCR needs a minimum of $20 million by the end of the year to keep up basic lifesaving activities, he says.

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

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.
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