Urgent humanitarian response needed
In Renk civil hospital, where MSF supports the measles isolation ward, 90 per cent of patients are returnees and are unvaccinated. On top of that, some severely sick patients are being transferred without provision of medical care to Malakal, a 48- to 72-hour journey by boat without medical care, water or food.
Deaths have been recorded on these journeys, while our teams are receiving severely sick patients at Bulukat transit centre, resulting in a higher mortality rate in the facilities in Malakal.
“The community of returnees don’t have sufficient food or drinking water, and they don’t even have shelters – they use pieces of cloth to protect themselves from the sun and rain,” says Abraham Anhieny, an MSF medical doctor in Renk.
“As we treat malnourished children in the hospital, we see that many mothers are also malnourished,” he says.
Years of conflict have already caused one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises in South Sudan. The country already suffers from regular disease outbreaks, flooding, displacements and high rates of malnutrition.
The arrival of returnees is yet another burden, and the current response is insufficient to absorb additional needs. The country requires more attention and support to deal with the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Sudan.