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Thousands flee homes for safety in S. Sudan’s Unity state

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November 11, 2015 (BENTIU) - South Sudan remains engulfed in a spiral of violence – with clashes in southern and central parts of the oil-rich Unity state having “intensified with grave consequences for civilians”, leaving at-risk populations food insecure and vulnerable to diseases, the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) has warned.

A view of the Protection of Civilians (POC) site near Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan (Photo UN/JC McIlwaine)

"The agency, in its latest bulletin, said is has with its partners managed to reach some towns in central Unity state and Western Equatoria state, and are assisting internally displaced people (IDPs) with health, water, sanitation and hygiene.

A $2.6 million contribution from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), it said, made it posssible to tackle the Cholera disease and that its outbreak was under control. OCHA’s report cautioned that the ongoing rainy season could worsen situations.

The report, obtained by Sudan Tribune, warned that Malaria, another water-borne disease, is the primary cause for morbidity and mortality in the country and is continuing to spread, with cases doubling and quadrupling compared with the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile, the UN, its partners and South Sudan government is reportedly assisting a multi-sectorial malaria task force and scaling up distribution of mosquito nets and information dissemination on malaria prevention.

However, an additional $4 million is urgently needed to ensure the availability of malaria drugs and diagnostic tests, as well as social mobilization and logistical coordination.

According to the report, civilians have also suffered the grave consequences of killings, sexual violence and forced displacement. Food insecurity in these hard-hit regions has deteriorated and has seen a 4/5 increase compared to the same period last year.

“It is inspiring to witness the efforts our colleagues are making on the front line,” John Ging, OCHA’s head of operations, who recently visited South Sudan, said in the report.

"The international community must continue to support these efforts, and stand in solidarity with those who have been the victims of conflict for far too long,” he added.

(ST)

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