NEWS FROM THE FIELD: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) 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. For people arriving in an already weakened state, and when shelter, food and water are lacking, medical care is not enough.
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 25 km 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 MSF.
“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 with a place that has water, shelter and food as soon as possible.