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Published On: Sun, May 25th, 2014

Crisis in South Sudan: conflict, famine and cholera

The conflict in South Sudan, which began in mid-December 2013, has left a third of the population severely food insecure. Many people are unable to farm, tend to their livestock and feed their families. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the violence and fear have forced over 1.3 million people from their homes since fighting began. 

South Sudan Image/CIA

South Sudan
Image/CIA

One third of all South Sudanese are severely food insecure as a result of conflict, displacement, destroyed markets and disrupted livelihoods. In fact, with the rains beginning in the country could leave 60 percent of the roads inaccessible to aid. If nothing is done, the situation could quickly unravel, bringing the number of displaced to 1.5 million. One out of two South Sudanese could be displaced, sick or starving by December 2014. 50,000 children could die from malnutrition.

This has prompted the international donor community to donate to this tragic cause. The UN and its humanitarian partners need a total of $1.8 billion to provide life-saving assistance throughout 2014. To date, $600 million US has been pledged.

In addition, a cholera outbreak has been officially declared in the capital, Juba, where over 300 people have been affected. 14 people have died from the dangerous gastrointestinal disease. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has responded to the Juba outbreak to help contain it.

“Following five months of intense conflict, dire conditions in many camps for displaced people, and a worsening rainy season, we are concerned about the impact of the disease”, says Brian P Moller, MSF Head of Mission in South Sudan. “Yet cholera can be simply and effectively treated if caught early enough. MSF’s priority is to ensure a quick and efficient response to contain the outbreak as much as possible, working on both the treatment of patients and the prevention of the disease.”

Setting up a cholera treatment center, identifying further locations for other potential treatment centres, providing safe water, conducting awareness campaigns; and organizing cholera vaccinations in camps for displaced people (IDPs) are some of the actions taken by MSF.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

 

About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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