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Sudan Tribune

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MSF warns of refugee “crisis” in South Sudan

June 15, 2012 (JUBA) – The international medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Thursday warned of an emerging “crisis” for tens of thousands of people seeking refuge from the conflict in Sudan in neighbouring South Sudan.

Refugees in Yida refugee, May 2012 (AP)
Refugees in Yida refugee, May 2012 (AP)
MSF says the situation in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity states is “rapidly developing into a full-blown crisis” with inadequate water supplies medical care facilities, food and shelter.

“We went early on Tuesday morning to provide medical assistance and rehydration points along the route,” MSF’s Erna Rijnierse says in the statement.

“It was a truly shocking sight as we witnessed some of the weakest dying as they walked – too dehydrated for even the most urgent medical care to save them,” added the MSF official.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) early this week, launched a humanitarian appeal for emergency response funds earmarked for nearly 150,000 Sudanese refugees currently in South Sudan, with the numbers
expected to rise sharply in the coming weeks.

MSF specifically talks about a camp located at Yida in Unity state, which reportedly hosts 50,000 refugees. Here, half of the consultations carried by the organisation’s staff show people suffering from water-borne illness that are easily preventable with proper hygiene, sanitation and the availability of potable water.

“We see many patients, mainly children for whom diarrhoea can be life-threatening, continue to come back to the hospital to be treated several times. We are also seeing increasing malnutrition,” said André Heller Perrache, MSF’s head of mission in South Sudan.

MSF has appealed to other aid agencies involved in assisting these refugees to scale up the provision of basic services in order to cope up with the population upsurge in the settlements.

“Some crucial access roads are already becoming unusable and MSF urgently calls upon aid organizations involved in providing the basic minimum services to catch up with the ever increasing camp populations,” said Perrache.

MSF currently has more than 50 international staff and just over 300 local staff providing 6,500 consultations in the camps per week.