* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Medair staff returned to Malakal on 3 March to resume their work providing emergency latrines to address the urgent water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs of the displaced communities within the UN base. The team had left a week earlier after fighting had restarted in the Upper Nile State city.
Amalan Arulanantham, Medair’s WASH Project Manager in Malakal, reports: “More than 20,000 people live in the UN base. In one area, more than 5,000 people live with no latrines at all, a situation rife for a disease outbreak. Medair is working rapidly to build latrines, as these must be in place before seasonal rains soon begin.”
Since conflict erupted in December, thousands of civilians have been killed. Although the warring parties agreed to a hostilities cessation on 23 January, fighting continues in areas of South Sudan, including episodes again in Juba on 5 March.
Medair’s Emergency Response Team in Juba has been able to vaccinate more than 14,000 people against cholera before the most recent fighting and recommenced the vaccination campaign the day after the Juba incidents.
Caroline Boyd, Medair Country Director, says: “Despite the ongoing challenges, Medair constantly monitors the situation to ensure that staff are able to work in locations with security issues. Throughout this crisis, Medair’s commitment is and will remain to help those in need in areas of extreme vulnerability.
In Yusuf Batil Camp in Maban County, Medair is providing health and nutrition services as well as clean water and sanitation facilities to Sudanese refugees. After clashes between host communities and refugees broke out here on 3 March, Medair and French NGO Solidarités quickly installed additional water points to help meet the need for clean water that resulted from the large-scale displacement of the refugee population.
In Renk town, Medair continues to provide emergency health, nutrition, and WASH services to displaced communities, to the host population, and to South Sudanese who remain stranded in the area after returning from Sudan. Many thousands of people appear to be moving through Renk town as they seek safety from the fighting in southern Upper Nile State.
The UN estimates that the violence in South Sudan, which erupted in mid-December in Juba and quickly spread across central and eastern areas of the country, has displaced approximately 850,000 people (of which some 123,000 fled to neighbouring countries). As the fighting continues, tens of thousands more people will likely be displaced, putting aid efforts under extreme pressure. In this context, Medair continues to use its expertise gained from 23 years of aid experience in South Sudan, and adapts its relief activities to provide emergency services to those in extremely vulnerable situations.
South Sudan became an independent nation on 9 July 2011. Medair has been present in the region since 1991 responding to emergencies and providing health care, nutrition, safe water, sanitation, hygiene, non-food items and shelter to those most in need.
For media: please contact Timothy Chapuis, Communications Manager (English, French) email@example.com, +41 (0)21 694 35 49
For inquiries and interviews on the ground, please contact Wendy van Amerongen, Field Communications Officer (Dutch, English) firstname.lastname@example.org, +211 (0)927 475 150
Recent photos of Medair’s work in Malakal and other areas are available for use upon request.
For more information on Medair’s South Sudan programme, visit medair.org/south-sudan
Medair’s South Sudan programme is supported by the E.C Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, the United States Agency for International Development, Common Humanitarian Fund, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and private donors.
Figures are taken from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair’s most recent situation report.
Medair helps people who are suffering in remote and devastated communities around the world survive crises, recover with dignity, and develop skills to build a better future.