UN agencies raise concern over “dire” camps for displaced people in South Sudan

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Food distribution in South Sudan

Displaced people in South Sudan are living in “dire” conditions according to the United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA).

More than 231,000 people have been internally displaced in South Sudan since violence broke out on 15 December.

Another 43,000 have fled into neighbouring countries, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia.

On Thursday, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos announced the allocation of $15 million to enable humanitarian agencies in South Sudan to meet the needs of people desperately seeking shelter and safety.

UN agencies will use the funds to improve the living conditions in the IDP camps and also finance the use of air transport for medical evacuations and airlifting relief workers to places that are inaccessible or too insecure to reach by road.

Marixie Mercado from the UN Children's agency UNICEF says the safety and well-being of women and children is of major concern as they constitute majority of those internally displaced.

"Conditions at the camps in Juba are dire, but UNICEF is especially concerned about conditions at camps where we have much less access because of the intense fighting. Displaced populations, the majority of whom are women and children face desperate shortages of food, water and sanitation facilities. There are now seven clinical cases of measles have been reported at IDP camps in Juba, and three other cases at Bentiu camp. UNICEF is working with partners to reach displaced populations with emergency water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition services. A vaccination campaign together with the ministry of health, WHO and other partners has reached some 30,000 children under 15 years old at IDP camps in Juba with measles and polio vaccines, vitamin A and deworming medication. We are now targeting another 37,000 children are targeted for vaccinations in Awerial county and Bentiu."

OCHA says at least 60,500 people have sought refuge in the 10 UN bases in South Sudan.

The United Nations has appealed for $166 million to be able to provide assistance to the displaced in South Sudan between January and March.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2:15

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