Cholera death toll rises to 328 in South Sudan, UN

XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

At least 328 people have died of cholera in South Sudan since June 18 last year as rainy season threatens further spread across the country, the UN migration agency said on Tuesday.

Beldina Gikundi, International Organization for Migration (IOM) South Sudan Migration Health Emergency Officer said rapid responses are critical to stemming the cholera outbreak that has affected the country for over a year.

“In a country with mass displacement and severe levels of food insecurity, the effect of the continued cholera outbreak on the health of vulnerable populations is acute,” Gikundi said in a statement released in Juba.

The IOM agency said cholera outbreak has compounded already dire humanitarian needs. Approximately four million people have been displaced by the conflict that erupted in December 2013.

According to IOM, more than 18,000 cholera cases been reported in South Sudan, noting that health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) teams continue to respond to the outbreak through case management and preventive measures across the country.

Disease outbreaks are particularly dangerous for displaced and vulnerable populations, such as children under five years of age, who account for more than one in five cholera cases reported in 2017.

“As we saw the outbreak continue even during the dry season in 2017, we expect to see the trend persist throughout the rainy season, which leaves as much as 60 per cent of the country inaccessible by road,” IOM said.

“Sustained and flexible responses are crucial to stemming the continued transmission of the disease in this extremely challenging context,” it said.

IOM said its team has repaired 84 boreholes, distributed cholera response kits, including jerry cans, water treatment supplies and soap to more than 2,600 households, as well as conducted water quality monitoring and treatment at water points and distributed soap and household water treatment supplies during hygiene promotion sessions.