Authorities fear of possible cholera outbreak in Gumbo IDPs

Authorities fear of possible cholera outbreak in Gumbo IDPs
Fear of possible cholera outbreak in IDP camp in Juba. [Keji Janefer]

Authorities in Central Equatoria State are appealing for timely response to deteriorating health situation at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Gumbo.

The authorities made the statement on Wednesday during a visit to the camp to assess the IDPs’ situation in order to devise a strategy for the government to assist them before the rainy season intensifies.

Mariam Aguli Zachariah, gender and social welfare advisor to Governor Emmanuel Adil was accompanied by the Deputy chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Director of Social Welfare in the Central Equatoria State Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare, and the State SPLM Secretary General.

The purpose of their mission, according to Mariam, was to assess the situation of the IDPs as well as to assist the vulnerable, such as pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, the elderly and person with disability.

They delivered some items such as sanitary pads, mosquito nets, mats, bedsheets, blankets, and soaps to more than 200 IDPs.

“The situation is not helping. Rain has started and soon cholera will be. How are we going to help our people and so we are here in solidarity with our people? “Mariam stated.

In addition, Osman Sheriff, the director of social welfare in the CES ministry of gender, child and social welfare, emphasized the need for an urgent meeting to discuss the issues facing the IDPs, stressing that the conditions in which they are forced to flee are inhumane.

According to Niclas Tombe Osman, chairman of the IDPs, the number of the IDPs is over 5,000 people, and they live in an open plot owned by someone who offered it to them as a place to dwell for the time being, which they praised the owner for his generosity to the people.

Since their arrival in Juba, eight humanitarian agencies have visited them to assess their position, but only two have supplied humanitarian help, according to Niclas, who added that they have also received assistance from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and the catholic church as well as individual members of parliament both from the state and the national assembly and SPLM.

“Since March 12, 2022, if these people continue to stay like this, this is something extremely horrible,” he told CES officials who paid them a visit on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Juma Henry, the executive director of Rajaf Payam, said that the IDPs wrote to his office demanding land to settle on, but that the chiefs in Raja are also saying that they don’t have land to provide the IDPs because most of the land has been taken.

Henry, on the other hand, raised concern about a cholera outbreak where IDPs are sheltering with insufficient sanitation couple with the rainy season.

Right now, these people are residing here without latrines. We have heard that there is cholera on that side of the Nile, and I’m in this place. If these people are transferred, their situation will be terrible. As you can see, they are defecating in this stream, said Henry.

“If these people continue to leave here, I’m afraid that these people will get sick within a short period of time because when it rains, this place will be filled with water.” “So, the situation is bad,” Henry stressed.

Ana Kaku, the secretary general of the Central Equatoria State SPLM, also called on the government to intervene, both at the state and national levels, because the IDPs are approaching the season of getting communicable diseases that spread throughout the rainy season.

“Now it is raining and they are leaving. It is not conducive.” This place is bad and there are children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and these are the people who, whenever there is an outbreak, will automatically be affected, and we are very worried, “Ana articulated.”

The IDPs in Gumba are the people who were displaced by the cattle herders from Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria, Torit West County, Aru, Lokiliri, and Lobonok Payam in Central Equatoria State.