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Sudanese refugees in South Sudan bemoan ‘lack of coronavirus precautions’

March 24 - 2020 YIDA / AJUONG THOK / PAMIR
Sudanese refugees at Yida camp (File photo: Karin Ekholm / MSF)
Sudanese refugees at Yida camp (File photo: Karin Ekholm / MSF)

On Monday, Sudanese refugees from the Nuba Mountains in Yida, Ajuong Thok, and Pamir refugee camps in South Sudan expressed their concerns regarding the poor precautions taken by the international humanitarian aid organisations (INGOs) against the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the camps. The refugees also complained about the severe and prolonged shortage of water in the comps.

On Monday, refugees told Radio Dabanga that the INGOs currently operating in the camps have not taken any noticeable precaution to confront the coronavirus epidemic yet. “There is no isolation ward or awareness-raising among the refugees about the severity of the virus and how to prevent it,” they said. Also, there is no checkpoint or examination at the border for those coming to the camps from Sudan.

The refugees appealed to humanitarian organisations to intervene and put the necessary health measures in place to confront the spread of coronavirus.

The refugees from the Nuba Mountains in Ajuong Thok and Pamir refugee camps complained about the shortage of drinking water, they described it as a crisis. They told Radio Dabanga that they have been suffering from a water shortage for over a month. They attributed the problem to frequent breakdowns and dysfunction of the system to pump waterpipes of pumping water and frequent pipes breakdowns. They pointed out that they raised their complaints to the organisations working in the camps, but they have not got any response yet.

In a statement on Monday, the health authorities in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu), they said that the took some measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus within its controlled areas in the Nuba Mountains. The statement said that they formed an emergency committee to monitor, collect information, and report daily about the spread of the epidemic in the region as well as establishing follow-up checkpoints between the government and SPLM-N-controlled areas. The emergency committee also authorised to follow-up on the implementation of the WHO guidance and instructions such as prevention of public gatherings and spreading health awareness among the people.

Radio Dabanga’s editorial independence means that we can continue to provide factual updates about political developments to Sudanese and international actors, educate people about how to avoid outbreaks of infectious diseases, and provide a window to the world for those in all corners of Sudan. Support Radio Dabanga for as little as €2.50, the equivalent of a cup of coffee.


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