Cologne. The ongoing unrest in South Sudan is responsible for a continued flight to already poverty-stricken and financially strained neighboring countries. Around 800,000 South Sudanese people have already left their home of origin. Even in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country itself dependent on international aid, more than 27,000 refugees from South Sudan have fled across the border. At the same time thousands of Congolese are returning to their homeland from South Sudan.
The situation is not only getting more difficult for the South Sudanese but also for the families in neighboring host countries. Local structures and aid organizations are overwhelmed with the current flow of refugees in different regions and direct care is affected. As a result, the burden is placed on the local communities to place refugees in safe housing.
“The situation in the north eastern parts of DR Congo is already precarious. Only a few years ago we delivered humanitarian help for internally displaced people. Since then we are working on the empowerment of the health system, but the large number of refugees and returnees is overstraining our efforts. Additionally, the displaced persons need water, housing, and food,” said Roland Hansen, Africa team leader of Malteser International.
Currently, refugees are housed with families and in schools and public housing, but the existing situation demands the immediate construction of shelters. Malteser International is now supporting the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as one of the first organizations in sectors of water, sanitation and health care. Malteser International will improve access to clean drinkable water, build latrines, provide hygiene products and offer education courses in these sectors for 15,000 people. Local health stations will be supported as well, in order to provide free health care for refugees, and local communities will also benefit.
“While this crisis has not yet drawn the attention of the world, like bigger crises in the Middle East, already resource-deprived host countries are on the verge of break-down from the influx of refugees. Financial support from the Federal Foreign office are urgently needed and appreciated“, said Hansen.
Since 2013, 270,000 South Sudanese have fled to Uganda as well. Malteser International provides 20,000 people with drinking water and assists them to cultivate their own food. 1.8 Million internally displaced people are living in Uganda. Malteser International provides 25,000 people with water and food in the slums of the capital city Juba. Because of a rising fear of violent attacks in the countryside, 100,000 people have fled to Wau Malteser International continues to provide emergency relief.
Roland Hansen, Africa Team Leader of Malteser International, is available for interviews.
Contact: Tel.: +49 (0)221 9822 155, katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org
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