Displaced people stage demonstration in Unity state as flood waters destroy shelters

By IAfrica
In Sudan
Jul 28th, 2014
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July 27, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Internally displaced people (IDPs) in South Sudan’s Unity state held a demonstration on Saturday, calling on the UN mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to improve facilities at a protection site after heavy flood waters washed out temporary shelters at the camp.

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Flood waters have indated the temporary shelters of displaced people at a UNMISS camp in Unity state’s Rubkotna (Facebook photo)

Many of the victims and relatives of those sheltering at the Rubkotna camp have been sharing disturbing pictures on Facebook showing the damage caused by flooding.

A UN staff member working in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity told Sudan Tribune that the camp had been inundated by flood waters over the past four days.

He confirmed the demonstration over problems facing displaced people at the camp.

He told Sudan Tribune the situation had become dire as heavy rain continues to fall in the area, describing the situation for displaced people at the Rubkotna camp as life threatening.

“Yesterday (Saturday) I witness a woman giving birth in such [a] terrible situation, but lucky enough she was rushed to hospital in the UN and all went fine with her delivery,” he said.

He has called on UNMISS to immediately step in to help prevent further flooding in the low-lying area, warning that the situation continued to go from bad to worse for residents at the camp.

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

Maliah Ter, one of the displaced people sheltering at the UNMISS camp, says she hadn’t slept for four days after heavy rain dislodged her family from shelters.

“We were sleeping in water for those having beds and those without beds kept standing the whole day and night because they have nowhere to go,” Ter said in an interview with Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

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Residents at a camp for internally displaced people in Unity state’s Rubkotna wade through flood waters (Facebook photo)

The situation has sparked fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases.

Some 40,000 people are currently sheltering at the Rubkotna camp, according to the UN, the majority of them lost their homes after heavy fighting erupted between rebel and government forces in both Bentiu and Rubkotna.

The warring parties have been engaged in an armed struggle since mid-December last year after political tensions within the ruling SPLM turned violent.

Unity state has been a flashpoint for violence, with the capital, Bentiu, changing hands several times at the height of the conflict.

Reports show that more civilians are amassing at the UNMISS camp every day, driven out of their hiding places in the bush by hunger.

Aid agencies have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe unless the warring sides halt fighting on the ground.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) recently revealed that South Sudan is the most fragile state in the world and is facing a looming famine.

(ST)

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