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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

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Widespread violence in South Sudan forces refugees to flee to Uganda

by Hannah Beighle | Jul 21, 2016

Today, just five years after the glimmering hope of the country’s independence, South Sudan’s situation grows critical as violence and conflict sweep the nation. Some of the worst crimes are being committed against those that are most vulnerable. Political conflict has caused armed groups to commit massive acts of violence towards civilians, especially against women, children, and humanitarian workers. People across the country have been forced to flee from their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Uganda, South Sudan’s neighbor, is facing a massive influx of South Sudanese refugees. Over 90% are women and children. So many need help - in one center, 7,000 refugees were forced to sleep outdoors while torrential rains flooded the compound.

SouthSudan_Uganda_Refugee_CrowdedCamp

So many need help: New arrivals come to the Medical Teams International screening point where they wait to enter into a screening room.

Without care, the situation could become much worse. Mothers who have lost their homes are struggling to feed their infants. Unvaccinated children are vulnerable to serious diseases in overcrowded camps. So many are at risk.

South Sudan: A tumultuous history

Despite a short history, South Sudan has faced nearly chronic challenges. After 25 years of civil war, the people of South Sudan hoped for a peaceful future after gaining independence in 2011. Sadly, this dream was overshadowed by conflict and poverty—from the start, South Sudan was one of the poorest countries in the world. Years of conflict, natural disasters, and chronic underdevelopment have left the country impoverished—one in seven women die during childbirth, only half the population has access to clean drinking water, and 84% of women are illiterate.

Medical Teams International making a difference

Partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Medical Teams is implementing health and nutrition programs at Elegu, a popular point for refugees entering Uganda. Medical Teams is responsible for medical screening, nutritional screening, and immunization. Thousands are receiving the care they need - vaccines, medicine, essential vitamins. However, as the influx continues, resources are being stretched dangerously thin.

SouthSudan_Uganda_Refugee_Ambulance

A Medical Teams International emergency ambulance comes to Elegu to take a patient with liver cirrhosis to a nearby hospital. 

We are working hard to help all those in need, but the massive influx of people in need means we need more supplies, more doctors and more support. It’s absolutely essential that these families get the care they need- and deserve. YOU have the power to make a difference in the lives of so many who have been torn apart from their homes and communities and we are so grateful for your support!