By Julius N. Uma
July 28, 2012 (JUBA) - At least two, out of every 10,000 children die daily as a result of the recent outbreak of acute diarrhea disease, in South Sudan’s Unity State, where some 57,000 refugees are currently settled, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said.
These Sudanese refugees are part of those who fled fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states into Upper Nile and neighbouring Ethiopia. An estimated more than 200,000, UNHCR says, have been forced to abandon the two troubled Sudanese states.
“During the third week of July alone, 23 deaths from acute diarrhea were recorded,” says the weekly bulletin from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), while overall crude mortality rate is reportedly 0.92.
Several agencies, the bulletin says, have stepped up hygiene and health outreach capacities to tackle the outbreak of acute diarrhea and other communicable diseases in all camps in Unity and Upper Nile State.
An initial needs assessment mechanism, Sudan Tribune has learned, has been established, whereby the humanitarian community will strive to ensure responses to refugee needs are streamlined after an assessment has been conducted, and follow-up is done in a coordinated manner.
Malaria, according to health partners, is also on the rise due to increased rains in these refugee areas, with nearly 400 cases of malaria reportedly registered at health facilities, since the beginning of July.
Meanwhile, in Upper Nile State, humanitarian organizations are reportedly working to relocate 15,000 refugees from Jamman refugee settlement due to the lack of reliable drinking water sources and the risk of flooding due to heavy rains. In addition, a new site, earmarked to initially host about 15,000 has reportedly opened in Gendrassa, 52km away from Jamman.
A total of 30,000 refugees are expected to be hosted at a later stage.
The Central Emergency Respond Fund (CERF), this week, announced the allocation of US$20 million to humanitarian organizations in South Sudan, to assist the emergency response efforts to some 162,000 Sudanese refugees located in Upper Nile and Unity states.
The allocated of the much-needed fund comes hardly a month after the UN raised the 2012 consolidated fund appeal from $766m to $1.2bn, to address urgent humanitarian needs in the world’s newest nation.