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Displaced women from South Sudan conflict living under trees

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February 27, 2014 (MINKAMAN) - Hundreds of women displaced from Jonglei to Lakes state by the conflict in South Sudan say that they have been living without sanitary towels and other basic hygiene-related items for the past three months.

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Two women who gave birth under trees in Lakes state’s Minkaman camp for displaced people (ST)

"I am not producing anymore, but there is need to have those things that I may not mention to my son. Many young women are here with us, they have been facing the same problem since we came. We feel shame when we come to public places like this. Why are our needs [are] not considered? We need such things very soon", said Achol Arok Dut, who spoke on behalf of the women in Minkaman camp.

Dut is one of the 92,000 people who are displaced in Lakes state. Most of whom have fled from neighbouring Jonglei state and are seeking shelter in Minkaman, Kalthok, Ahou and Yolakot in Puluk payam (district) of Awerial county.

A number of women gave birth under trees but never got any clinical help with her children said that she also needed health care or at least a health hygiene kit including underpants, soap, towels, and sanitary towels.

Sudan Tribune spoke with Ayen Marial and Adut Bolek who gave birth under trees in the Yolakot IDP camp.

"I was in labour for two days here under the tree before I had my baby son, I was helped by my mother. No baby soap or body lotion, I never got a chance to visit my health center since I came here", Adut Bolek said.

Ayen Marial gave birth to triplets who all weighed less than two kilograms.

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A young girl working for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) explains to women how the items in the hygiene kit should be used in Yolakot on 27 February 2014 (ST)

The Catholic Relief Service (CRS), an American charity, is now providing hygiene kits alongside shelters for the displaced people in the three locations of Yolakot, Ahou and Kalthok in the Puluk payam [district].

For the last two days, officials responsible for distribution said they covered over 400 households, expressing their willingness to push for another up to 4,000 households.

The United Nations estimates that 710,600 people have been displaced inside South Sudan since the conflict began in mid-December. A further 171,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries.

In Minkaman displaced camp 16,650 people received oral cholera vaccines, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan.

The UN’s Crisis Response Plan is 20 percent funded, with $748 million of the $1.27 billion needed already pledged. The funds need to be raised so that lifesaving supplies can be put in place ahead of the rainy season that begins in March, when most of the country becomes inaccessible by road.

(ST)

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