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Emergency Medical Aid Arrives for South Sudan Refugees

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Relief staff deployed, disaster response continues to help families fleeing the violence

To help treat sick and suffering refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan, an emergency module containing enough medicines and supplies to support the needs of a population of 20,000 for three months has been delivered to our partner in neighboring Uganda.

The violent ongoing conflict has created an urgent health and humanitarian crisis, forcing more than 923,000 from their homes within the country, while an additional 293,000 have fled to neighboring countries. More than 100,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda since the escalation of violence began in December, and the influx continues.

Our team of AmeriCares aid workers in Uganda reported urgent medical gaps in refugee settlements where our partners are providing crucial care and humanitarian aid to people fleeing the conflict.

“Many refugees have walked for days, sometimes weeks, and are in dire need of medical care for conditions ranging from basic infections to more complicated health issues including malnutrition, to injuries related to the violence,” explained aid worker, Julia Bolton. “Health facilities in the transit camps and settlements are working hard to meet the needs of the refugee influx, but are facing serious shortages of medicines. With little expectation that the situation will improve any time soon, the needs here are pressing.”

Since the brutal conflict began, AmeriCares has provided more than $2 million in emergency medical and humanitarian aid to partners helping people in the war-torn region. Additional shipments are underway, but much more is needed.

One of the most urgent health needs identified by our partner is providing basic primary care to people living in overcrowded refugee communities where disease spreads quickly. The medical aid will help replenish stocks of emergency medicines in 9 clinics operating in refugee settlements in the West Nile districts of Koboko, Arua and Adjumani.

“In crowded settlements, medical needs can quickly overwhelm local health care capabilities,” explained Bolton. “The number of people requiring medical assistance has greatly increased, leaving urgent health care gaps. The coming rainy season may produce additional health risks, including water borne-diseases like cholera. This possibility, on top of the ongoing urgent medical needs, is of serious concern.”

Reports indicate that up to 70 percent of people fleeing South Sudan are women and children. Given the very limited access to medical care in affected areas among the displaced, expectant mothers and babies are especially at risk.