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IDPs in South Sudan at risk of water-borne diseases after UN cut water

poc site Juba – Office of the Special Representative of the  Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict

By Tapeng Michael

Thousands of internally displaced people (IDPS) sheltering in the largest Protection of Civilians site in South Sudan capital Juba are grappling with water shortage after the United Nations cut off water supply.

This could put them at risk of catching water-borne diseases like typhoid after it emerged that most of them are drinking contaminated water in trenches outside the PoC.

“We lack many things in this camp, we don’t have toilets, we don’t have water and our children now move outside the camp to fetch water from dirty trenches. We could die in this UN camp and yet we have the Nile River water flowing freely here in Juba,” Nyakoang Chuol Deng, camp Chair lady said in an interview in Juba.

Chuol vented her anger toward the political leadership who plunged the country into devastating conflict in December 2013 that forced her and her family to shelter in the PoC.

She and her colleagues are now calling on the UN Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to resume water supply and distribution of relief food to them.

Deng Nhial Chuol, another displaced person living in the UN compound expressed shock and regret for the decision to cut off essential supplies to the camp dwellers.

“There is no water and we don’t know what is really happening because the lack of water and food in the camp will likely cause a lot of diseases in the camp. Even if you walk around the camp now the toilets look just like a cattle camp where everything is not under control,” said Chuol.

Meanwhile, Bor Gai youth leader in the PoC said the lack of water and other essentials like food could increase petty crime within the camp and neighboring surroundings.

“Right now there are a lot of theft cases outside the camp, and these come as a result of lack of water. Because our girls and mothers do go outside to fetch water,” he said.

Early last month, UN World Food Program (WFP) said it will be cutting food rations starting October this year to IDPs and refugees in the country, due to lack of funding from partners amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Those to be affected are IDPs staying in Juba, Bor and Wau  PoCs.

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