22,000 South Sudanese Children In Refugee Camps At Risk Of Contracting Diseases

Cyriaque Sobtafo speaking at his office today in Gulu(Photo by David Okema)

By David Okema

About 22,000 South Sudanese children in refugee camps in northern Uganda are at the risk of contracting diseaseas and malnutrition, a UN official has said.

Cyriaque Sobtafo, the head of the Gulu UNICEF office and United Nations Area Coordinator said in an interview at his office that 65% of the 33,838 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are children.

Sobtafo said the children are at risk to catching water borne diseases like cholera and diarrhea due to congestion, especially at Elegu and Nyumanzi reception center due to the high number of people and poor management of waste.

Sobtafo noted that several refugee children were in poor health conditions and have been put on emergency medical treatment by UNICEF.

He also said the Office of the Prime minister (OPM) in conjunction with the District Health Office of the refugee host districts are providing vaccinations to the children.

The Gulu UNICEF chief said children and women make up 85% of the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.  He said UNICEF last week donated energy giving biscuits and a generator to pump water from a motorized borehole to  enable the refugees have access safe drinking water.

Between Wednesday and Friday last week, the UN official said 4,000 refugees entered into Uganda on a daily basis.

The UPDF chief of land forces, Major General David Muhoozi last week said that people who are still trapped by the war in South Sudan [including  South Sudanese ] can use safe corridors at the border points to enter into Uganda. He was speaking at a UPDF function at Bibia military detach in Amuru district, only a few miles away from Elegu border post.

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