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Cholera outbreak in South Sudan is wake up call to government and aid agencies
In response to the Government of South Sudan's declaration of a cholera outbreak in the country’s capital, Juba, Zlatko Gegic, Country Director for Oxfam in South Sudan said:
"This cholera outbreak is a wake up call for the government and the aid world to redouble efforts to tackle a worsening cycle of misery. Money is urgently needed to fund an immediate surge in action to tackle the disease. The UN's emergency aid appeal for the country is only 41 per cent funded and without an extra injection of funds, and urgent action, deaths rates will only increase.
"The deteriorating economic situation has led to a hike in fuel prices, and significantly reduced people’s access to safe water. This has the potential to exacerbate and increase the spread of cholera in overcrowded camps and in poor urban areas in Juba. People depend on water trucks for their clean water and many can no longer afford to buy water. Poorer families are reduced to drinking untreated water, often fetched directly from the river, putting them at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera.
"The conflict remains the key driver of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan and there needs to be an immediate end to the fighting and a commitment by all parties to the conflict to negotiate a peaceful long term political solution."
Oxfam is conducting public hygiene promotion in the Protection of Civilian (PoC) site in the Juba UN base, promoting good hygiene practises, hand-washing and cleaning of water storage facilities. In addition, Oxfam is installing hand washing facilities in strategic points within the PoC including local restaurants and water points.
In other parts of the city, Oxfam is rehabilitating boreholes and chlorinating water trucks to ensure people have access to safe drinking water.
Oxfam is also coordinating with Water and Sanitation and Health agencies, the UN and the Government of South Sudan, to develop and revise State and National Cholera Response Plans.
Sultana Begum, in Juba - SBegum@oxfam.org.uk / +211 928926612
For updates, follow @Oxfam.