To All Media
Médecins Sans Frontières is warning of an escalating humanitarian crisis
in South Sudan as new refugees continue to cross the border from Sudan,
fleeing conflict. The camps of Batil (Maban County, Upper Nile State) and
Yida (Unity State) are of growing concern.
An official press release will be issued later today. We have excellent
spokespeople in all both camps and in the capital, Juba. We can also
arrange an interview with Médecins Sans Frontières Australia’s Executive
Director Paul McPhun who is both an excellent spokesperson for the
organisation and very knowledgeable about our field operations in the
South Sudan camps.
There is limited capacity for media visits in to the camps, but should you
wish to visit, we can do our best to facilitate it.
In support of our press release, we will also make available:
- A press dossier, photos, interviews with returned medics, interviews
with emergency staff currently in field
- Reuters b-roll footage from Yida camp which will be distributed through
- Patient testimonies and interviews with staff in Doro, Batil, Jamam
- Video footage from Maban
- Written patient testimonies, interviews with staff, and accompanying
photos in Yida in next few weeks.
- Photos of Jamam camp after a heavy rain.
The developing situation in the camps as reported by Médecins Sans
Frontières in each of the camps are as follows:
- The estimated camp population now stands at 34,099.
- We are seeing alarming rates of malnutrition and we now have more than
1,000 children enrolled in the Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Centre
(AFTC). 260 new admissions in AFTC last week.
- 50 children are currently being treated in the Intensive Therapeutic
Feeding Centre (ITFC)
- Médecins Sans Frontières has airlifted 30 tonnes of high-energy biscuits
for the most vulnerable and a further 100 tonnes of therapeutic food is
on the way.
- The people in Batil are completely dependent on humanitarian aid for the
vital necessities to stay alive – food, water, healthcare, shelter.
Delays or gaps in any of these elements leaves the population extremely
- Médecins Sans Frontières is now responsible for all severe acute
malnutrition in camp, and a massive scale-up in resources and activities
- Yida camp is a health catastrophe for its 55,000 residents.
- Hospital mortality remains very high due to the late arrival of many
patients for specialised medical treatment. Patients, primarily children
under five years of age, arrive in horrific condition: in shock, with
multiple morbidities including septicaemia, lower respiratory tract
infections, malnutrition and bloody diarrhoea.
- Community Health Workers have been trained to help with early referrals
to Médecins Sans Frontières health centres to help reduce mortality in
- Médecins Sans Frontières has established a blood bank and laboratory to
support the inpatient department in preparation for the malaria season
which will likely come soon with the continuation of rains.
- The estimated population is now around 55,000 people. Slow down in new
arrivals noticed since onset of rainy season but new arrivals now are
arriving in increasingly precarious conditions as their flight from the
Nuba Mountains becomes increasingly difficult.
- All roads leading into the Yida camp have been completely cut off and
the condition of the airstrip prohibits all larger cargo flights into
the camp, complicating an already tenuous situation.
- A recent Epicentre survey indicates that crude mortality in the camp has
been over 2/10,000/day for the last month and under five morality is
over double the emergency threshold at 4/10,000/day. This shocking
figure indicates that inadequacies in water provision and sanitation
infrastructure have devastated the population of the camp. On average,
six children have lost their lives every day over the last month.
(please note, this last point is embargoed pending the official press
release due later today, which we will make available as soon as it is
A quote from one of our nurses which sums the situation up:
"You see a lot of things here that are difficult to digest. When you’re
driving in, you begin to see people scattered about, but then suddenly
you’re confronted with a sea of people, most sitting down, sheltering under
bits of plastic. I’ve never seen anything like it. Most are dehydrated;
many have diarrhoea. Everybody looks ill and exhausted. Many have just
arrived after walking for 30km or more on foot. You offer people a cup of
water, and to see how fast they are drinking; how eager they are for water
— that is a heavy thing to see.“
Below please find our most recent press release, and our current B-Roll
shot list from Yida and Batil camps.
Overwhelming Refugee Influx Causing Crisis Situation in South Sudan
Médecins Sans Frontières warns of dire medical needs in overcrowded and
under-prepared refugee camps
Médecins Sans Frontières warns of dire medical consequences as tens of
thousands of new refugees crossing from Sudan into South Sudan find refugee
camps full and unable to provide the basic life-sustaining essentials. The
situation in Upper Nile and Unity States is rapidly developing into a
full-blown crisis as water supplies start to run out and relief is wholly
insufficient. Medical care is not enough when shelter, food and water are
lacking for people arriving in an already weakened state.
In Upper Nile State around 35,000 refugees crossed the border over a
three-week period, to find the existing refugee camps overcrowded and
already struggling to provide enough water for the 70,000 refugees in the
area. The new arrivals initially gathered at a temporary site but the water
ran out and, over Monday night, the 15,000 refugees remaining at this
location walked en masse the 25km to the nearest location with available
water. “We went early on Tuesday morning to provide medical assistance and
rehydration points along the route,” says Dr. Erna Rijnierse of Médecins
Sans Frontières. “It was a truly shocking sight as we witnessed some of the
weakest dying as they walked – too dehydrated for even the most urgent
medical care to save them.” The situation for these refugees could not be
more urgent and they need to be provided a place with water, shelter and
food as soon as possible.
In Unity State, the refugee camp at Yida expanded dramatically over the
past two months to around 50,000, with up to a thousand new refugees
arriving daily. “At this point what concerns us most in Yida is that half
of our consultations are water borne illness that are easily preventable
with proper hygiene, sanitation and availability of potable water,” says
André Heller Perrache, Médecins Sans Frontières head of mission in South
Sudan. “We see many patients, mainly children for whom diarrhoea can be
life-threatening, continue to come back to the hospital to be treated
several times. We are also seeing increasing malnutrition.”
Many of the new arrivals from Sudan have walked for many days or even weeks
and are in a worse health condition than refugees that crossed in the past
few months. Despite efforts of the few organisations present the conditions
and facilities facing them on arrival are completely insufficient to cope
with the recent influx, nor with the needs of the existing population of
The start of the rainy season adds to the urgency. ‘As the rainy season
intensifies, the situation for the refugees becomes increasingly
precarious,” says Heller Perrache. “Some crucial access roads are already
becoming unusable and Médecins Sans Frontières urgently calls upon aid
organisations involved in providing the basic minimum services to catch up
with the ever increasing camp populations.”
Médecins Sans Frontières has a massive response in the refugee camps, with
more than 50 international staff and just over 300 local staff present. In
total, the organisation is providing more than 6,500 consultations per
week, including urgent medical care for the most critically ill of the new
arrivals. Médecins Sans Frontières has also engaged in prevention of
disease outbreaks by conducting measles vaccination campaigns for children
under 15. At various temporary points in Upper Nile State, Médecins Sans
Frontières is treating and distributing water but the available water will
run out soon. ‘That’s why it is so important more organisations get
involved in trying to move the refugees to more suitable locations and
provide appropriate conditions in the existing camps without delay’, adds
Footage filmed last weekend in Yida camp and Batil camp have been compiled
and edited into a Broll and a web video.
The Broll is embargoed until 9:00 CET Thursday 2 August.
In the folder Refugee Crisis in South Sudan August 2012.
You can view the Broll on dailymotion via this link
The web video is already available in French English and International
versions in the same folder on the same FTP.
For more information please contact:
(Embedded image moved to file: pic08629.jpg)
(Embedded image moved to file: pic07698.gif)Medecins Sans Frontieres
In the office Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays
Médecins Sans Frontières Australia
PO Box 847, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
Direct + 61 2 8570 2679
Office + 61 2 8570 2600
Australia 1300 136 061 (local call
New Zealand 0508 633 324 (toll free)
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