Refugee Emergency in Upper Nile State, South Sudan Persists; International Medical Corps Works Around The Clock to Meet Critical Needs
June 28, 2012 - Los Angeles, Calif. – In just two days, International Medical Corps has provided more than 600 health consultations at a health post in Yusuf Batil refugee camp in Upper Nile State, South Sudan. Here, a rapidly rising South Sudanese refugee population is facing urgent health, nutrition and disease prevention needs, as conflict and hunger in neighboring Blue Nile State of Sudan continues to drive people across the border. Malnutrition levels are alarmingly high among refugees, the majority of them women and children. Leading morbidities among the refugee population continue to be diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, and eye infections.
The newly established Yusuf Batil camp in Maban County has grown from 6,000 people to more than 23,000 people in recent days, with a projected total of 40,000. International Medical Corps has been providing health services to arrivals from transit camp KM 18, including acute malnutrition screenings for children under 5 years of age. In the coming days, International Medical Corps’ emergency response team will work to reinforce Yusuf Batil’s health post with additional staff, sanitation services and trained community health workers.
To mitigate the spread of communicable diseases, which can be exacerbated by over-congestion in the camps and Maban County’s severe rainy season, International Medical Corps has hygiene promotion and cholera preparedness activities planned for Yusuf Batil. International Medical Corps also intends to work with partners to support survivors of gender-based violence. Its comprehensive primary health care clinic includes an inpatient department that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In recent months, International Medical Corps has scaled up its operations to respond to the needs of refugee and returnee populations throughout South Sudan. In Pochalla County in Jonglei State, International Medical Corps is the only international NGO providing health services in Alari refugee camp, where 4,000 refugees who fled violence in Ethiopia are currently residing. The organization, which has been operating in South Sudan since 1994, is also supporting 21 health facilities and responding to casualties in Jonglei, where inter-communal fighting in has been ongoing since early 2011. It also currently works in Upper Nile, Central Equatoria, and Western Equatoria State.