AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Cholera and rains aggravate the humanitarian situation, thousands of refugees fleeing the war: the testimony of a missionary

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "The authorities have announced that 18 people have died from cholera and about 170 people have been admitted to hospital due to the epidemic, and three diagnostic centers have also been reopened to ensure suspected cases" says Fr. Daniele Moschetti, a Comboni missionary who works in South Sudan, where the capital, Juba, was hit by a cholera epidemic.
"The rainy season has started and this favors the spread of diseases such as cholera. Already last year, cholera had killed 170 people out of a thousand people infected", says Fr. Daniele. Cholera aggravates the already heavy humanitarian situation caused by the civil war between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.
"Fighting takes place in three northern States, Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei, but as a consequence involves all other States of South Sudan" the missionary said. "Right now I am in Wau, about 400 km from Juba. The effects of war are indirect: food shortages and economy in shambles. The only prospect young people have at the moment is to make war".
Fr. Daniel points out that one of the critical situations concerns "the Upper Nile where we were forced to evacuate our mission from Leer. The area was under the control of the opposition but now the army has managed to reconquer the city and some nearby villages. Fighting continues for the reconquest of other villages in the region".
"We have received reports of absurd atrocities on women and children. Thousands of people have been forced to flee in wetlands. Also Médecin Sans Frontières has had to abandon its hospital, which served thousands of people. The remaining population has no food and medical care. With the arrival of the rainy season, the situation of those who have taken refuge in the marshes, which are immense (it is the second wetland area in the world after the Amazon), is likely to aggravate even more", says the missionary. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/06/2015)