National
'Alarming' deaths in war-torn South Sudan UN camp
Publish Date: Jun 20, 2014
'Alarming' deaths in war-torn South Sudan UN camp
South Sudan rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar
  • mail
  • img
newvision

Conditions in a squalid UN base in war-torn South Sudan where some 45,000 terrified civilians have fled fearing revenge attacks are causing an "alarming number of deaths", Doctors Without Borders said Friday.

Three children aged under five are dying every day in the camp in Bentiu, capital of the oil-producing Unity state and one of the areas hardest hit by over six months of civil war in the world's youngest nation, Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF) said.

 South Sudan's soldiers sit on a truck at the airport in Juba on June 12, 2014. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir arrived in Juba on June 12 after meeting with rebel chief Riek Machar in Addis Ababa on June 10. AFP/PHOTO

"People came here for safety but they are facing life-threatening conditions inside the camps," said Nora Echaibi, who is running the MSF hospital the camp in Bentiu. "It is rapidly becoming catastrophic."

The UN Mission in South Sudan -- which opened the doors to its bases to over 95,000 civilians fleeing conflict, many crowded into areas formerly used for parking vehicles -- has been working to set up new sites.

"Preventable diseases and severe acute malnutrition are causing an alarming number of deaths," MSF said, adding that torrential rains had left large areas of the camp under water.

"Most of the deaths are due to acute diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition which are linked to the harsh conditions."

There is only one latrine for more than 240 people, and in baking heat, people are surviving off less than five litres of clean water a day.

"Residents are forced to drink from puddles that are often contaminated with human waste," MSF said.

People continue to arrive for the protection of the UN camps, with peacekeepers now hosting 95,000 across the country, the highest number since war broke out in December between President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.

The fighting between Kiir and Machar's forces has been marked by widespread atrocities and, according to aid agencies, has pushed the world's youngest nation to the brink of famine.

The fighting started when Kiir accused Machar of attempting a coup, a charge which Machar denies. The rebel leader has in turn accused the president of being a "dictator" and trying to purge his rivals.

The latest round of peace talks to end the war is due to open Friday in the Ethiopian capital, but previous planned sessions have been repeatedly delayed. AFP

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
The 18-year-old Kibonge, the oldest lion at UWEC, Entebbe has died....
HIV injection nurse set free
Justice Rugadya Atwooki agrees with Rosemary Namubiru, a nurse who infected a baby with HIV, that her sentence was excessive and sets her free....
EALA Speaker Zziwa: I am doing well
The Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Margaret Zziwa has described her suspension as illegal....
Over sh16b earmarked for research in non-communicable diseases
Global healthcare company, Glaxosmithkline(GSK) is calling out for proposals for scientific research in non-communicable diseases(NCDs) in Sub-Saharan Africa....
Kampala pork contaminated - study
Pork eaters in Kampala have reason to worry for their health following findings by a veterinary lecturer that 50% of pork consumed in the city is contaminated....
350 teaching jobs available for PhD holders in Ugandan universities
About 350 teaching positions calling for doctorate holders are yet to be filled in Ugandan Universities and other degree awarding institutions....
Should Govt lease parts of Lake Victoria to private developers?
Its Ok
No Way
Not Sure
follow us
subscribe to our news letter