Aid agencies sound warning over health situation of South Sudan refugees

East Africa
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South Sudanese fleeing violence from their country are staring at the danger of diseases outbreak because aid agencies have insufficient resources to respond to the influx of refugees in to Uganda's West Nile region.

South Sudanese fleeing violence from their country are staring at the danger of diseases outbreak because aid agencies have insufficient resources to respond to the influx of refugees in to Uganda's West Nile region.

SS REFUGEES IN UGANDAAid agencies say they are unable to cope with the high number of new arrivals, with some transit centres having surpassed their holding capacity. It is estimated that about 1,700 South Sudanese are arriving into Uganda each day.

According to Hosana Adisu, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NCR) Country Representative in Uganda, lack of resources to decongest the centres has contributed to the outbreak of cholera.

"Other diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory track infections are likely to break out if we cannot step up the support we are giving to new arrivals,” Adisu said.

Adisu said the recent cholera outbreak in Adjumani may spread to other areas unless urgent measures are taken to curb the situation. By early this week, 55 people had been treated for suspected cholera.

In a statement, NCR said the new arrivals need urgent assistance including shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene support. Reports of sexual violence against people fleeing South Sudan continue, with a large number of children and youth reportedly suffering from psychosocial trauma as a result of sexual abuse and violence.

Aid agencies say they cannot respond adequately to the unfolding humanitarian crisis without increased funding.

According to United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), over 85,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda since July 2016, with 85 % of the new arrivals being women and children. As of the end of July, Uganda hosted over 550,000 refugees, including 315,000 refugees and asylum seekers from South Sudan.

The UNHCR says close to a million refugees have crossed the border into neighbouring Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Inside South Sudan, nearly two million people are displaced.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly in Kenya has withdrawn a special motion seeking deployment of Kenya Defence Force soldiers to Juba. The Kenyan government prepared the bill in response to a UN Security Council request.

The Majority leader in parliament said he withdrew the motion will be brought back next week to allow “for further consultations”. Debate on the bill was to start yesterday afternoon.

On August 13, the UN Security Council, with the support of the US, authorised the deployment of a 4,000-strong protection force to Juba to supplement the UN peacekeeping mission that is already operating in South Sudan.

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