650 cholera cases in Upper Nile; food barges delayed

More than 650 people have caught the disease cholera in Upper Nile State of South Sudan, with 17 deaths confirmed. The state remains cut off by river and road from relief supplies from elsewhere in the country, and is only accessible by air.

Approximately 179,000 people are displaced within Upper Nile State, according to the UN, while tens of thousands more have fled from the state into Ethiopia or Sudan.

In an update on Friday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in South Sudan stated that the cholera outbreak in Wau Shilluk in Upper Nile resulted in a cumulative number of 652 cases so far, with 17 deaths.

Currently 207 patients are still undergoing treatment at Wau Shilluk, while the others have been discharged. There are also unconfirmed reports of cholera cases elsewhere in the state.

OCHA pointed out that “airdrops remained the only way of delivering supplies to Upper Nile State sites.” Food barges hired by the World Food Programme to travel upriver to the area from Juba have been delayed.

According to the UN Logistics Cluster, two barges that departed Juba on 29 June have halted in Mangella while another two are still at Juba port awaiting repair of the pusher’s engine.

OCHA said aid agencies are responding to cholera in Wau Shilluk by providing medical treatment, distributing water purification and rehydration tablets, buckets and soap, and constructing handwashing stations.

OCHA also says that food for some 40,000 people was distributed in Wau Shilluk. In Mandeng, also in Upper Nile State, aid workers launched a food distribution and health operations for some 2,000 people.

Aid workers have also traveled to Kodok, where they estimate there are about 28,300 people in need.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which runs a health clinic at the Malakal PoC site, says that the most deadly illnesses in the camp are upper respiratory tract infections, malaria and diarrheal diseases.

IOM is also working to move some camp residents from the Malakal PoC site into a new PoC site adjoining it. In a recent update the aid agency says that it is “working with partners to demarcate plots, set up tents, and establish humanitarian infrastructure at the new PoC site.”

As of 6 July, 11,500 people have been relocated to the new site, 1,285 tents were installed, and 240 latrines were built. But IOM says that it still wants to install lighting to improve security within the site and is looking for a way to do this.

Other aid workers in Upper Nile have been training people at refugee camps in order to improve the social and security environment. Last week 57 people were trained in Kaya and Gendrassa refugee camps on child protection rights and gender-based violence.

Anther 30 people received psychosocial training in Doro camp “to support psychosocial response for vulnerable cases.”

Meanwhile, aid agencies are expected to attempt to start bringing in supplies via Sudan, after the signing of a memorandum of assistance to allow cross-border transport of relief supplies.

File photo

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