9 Jan 2014

South Sudan humanitarian crisis: inside Juba’s hospital

The United Nations warns that overcrowding at the main South Sudanese hospital in the capital Juba is becoming an increasing problem, with thousands of people suffering from malaria or disease.

According to UN estimates, more than 1,000 people have been killed and a further 200,000 displaced from their homes as a result of over three weeks of fighting. Many have sought refuge on bases of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Casualties continued to arrive at the UNMISS hospital in Juba on Thursday, many suffering from malaria caused by “infected food and water”, according to UNMISS medical officer Akbar Musharif.”

Admission, on average, is 10 to 15 per day, because we have very limited bed capacity, and a lot of patients who have come from Bor and Bentiu,” Musharif said.

One of the main problems, he said is “taking care of the discharged patients” as they are unable to return to their own districts.

Peace talks

The South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission called on Thursday for an unconditional ceasefire between warring factions in the world’s newest nation.

Combat is ongoing in South Sudan despite the opening of peace talks meant to end factional fighting.

The country has seen three weeks of violence that President Salva Kiir says began as a coup attempt on 15 December, though former Vice President Riek Machar’s side denies the allegation.

South Sudan has been plagued by ethnic tension and a power struggle within the ruling party that escalated after Kiir dismissed Machar as his vice president in July, with the violence boiling over in mid-December.

The rebels back Machar, who is now a fugitive.

Read more: 'I need to get the word out about what's happening in South Sudan'