South Sudan: Catastrophic health situation in refugee camps
UPDATE - 18 August 2012: New epidemiological survey shows mortality double the emergency threshold in Batil camp
02 August 2012 — New epidemiological data from two refugee camps in
More than 170,000 refugees have made the harrowing journey across the border to escape conflict and food insecurity in
“The number of children dying in Yida camp is appalling and the 1,200 children with severe acute malnutrition in MSF’s feeding programme in Batil camp is just the tip of the iceberg,” says André Heller-Pérache, MSF Head of Mission. “The majority of our patients in both camps are malnourished children who are further weakened when they contract diarrhoea, malaria or respiratory infections. They quickly enter a vicious circle of illness that can lead to further complications and death. Our medical teams are working round the clock in desperate conditions trying to save lives.”
Mortality rate double the emergency threshold
In Yida camp, which hosts the 55,000 refugees in Unity state, new MSF epidemiological data of mortality covering June and July shows four deaths per 10,000 people per day for children under five years old. This is double the emergency threshold and indicates an average of at least five children dying each day over this period, most from diarrhoea and severe infections. The global mortality rate over this period is also double the emergency threshold, with two deaths per 10,000 people per day. The study, completed on 27 July, showed that 82 per cent of refugee families had a family member fall ill over the previous two weeks.
In Batil camp in
Full emergency mode for all organisations
“The rainy season has turned these camps into nightmare places to be a refugee,” says Bart Janssens, MSF Operations Director. “The access roads are disintegrating and the humanitarian response is struggling to provide conditions where people can live. This is causing a catastrophic health situation, and while MSF can continue to provide treatment, a huge increase of capacity of humanitarian actors is needed now to avoid a lot more children becoming life-threateningly ill. Especially in water and sanitation since diarrhoea is the major killer in the camps and also for targeted food distribution in Batil where the malnutrition is so far above emergency thresholds. The situation requires all organisations to work in full emergency mode now.”
The main medical aid provider in all four refugee camps in
Since November 2011 MSF has been running emergency programmes for refugees fleeing South Kordofan and Blue Nile states in Sudan. MSF has a field hospital in each of the four refugee camps (Batil, Doro, Jamam and Yida) and is providing more than 9,000 consultations per week. 150 new patients are admitted for intensive in-patient hospital care each week and 2,300 malnourished children are treated in MSF therapeutic feeding programmes. MSF is also vaccinating against measles when there are new influxes of refugees, is providing Water & Sanitation assistance in the camps and is stepping in when necessary to carry out emergency distributions of basic survival essentials such as soap, plastic sheeting, and emergency food rations.