South Sudan

Press briefing on cholera in South Sudan (WHO and UNICEF)

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UNMISS Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for being with us despite the rains for this briefing on cholera response in South Sudan.

Let me introduce the participants – besides myself:

  • Dr. Abdinasir Abubakar acting Officer in Charge, of the World Health Organization, (WHO) who will give you and overview and brief on the cholera response - Mr. Abdulkadir Musse , Senior Emergency specialist of the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF)
    Unfortunately Dr. Richard Laku, acting undersecretary for the Ministry of Health, who was supposed to be with us had an emergency and could not join.

Let me start by making a few comments for UNMISS

Since the Mission opened its gates on December 15, an average 75,000 civilians (up to 80,000) have sought safety in UNMISS compounds, in 9 main protection of civilians sites (PoC). The highest numbers of civilians are in Juba (over 30,000), Bor (up to 12,000), Bentiu (up to 30,000) and Malakal (around 25,000)

UNMISS has always been very clear that the space provided by the Mission to civilians was not meant to be a durable solution.

  • The terrain is flat hence prone to flooding, and unhealthy stagnant waters and pools

  • The protection sites are crammed and congested, with civilians enjoying an estimated 10th of what space should be allocated for such population

With rains now well underway, stagnant waters, clogged drains and congestion have turned these sites into breeding ground for water-borne diseases including cholera. Protection sites need to be emptied, the sooner the better.

In February, the Mission started engaging with the national authorities to be granted additional land to extend or build more sites. It was not easy but we have land made available Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu, which has allowed the Mission to decongest existing sites by relocating civilians.