TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Cholera in South Sudan spreads as clean water costs surge

Cholera in South Sudan spreads as clean water costs surge higher | Courtesy of harvard.edu
Oxfam International said Monday that the number of cholera cases will continue to increase in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, as the economic crisis worsens and the price for clean water continues to surge higher.

The outbreak has killed 33 people in Juba. Seven of these victims were children less than 5 years old. An additional 700 infections have been confirmed.

Water companies attribute the increased water cost to high fuel prices, which are a direct result from the war. Many people do not have clean tap water and rely on trucks to deliver clean water.

“Families are struggling as food prices and living expenses increase, with many taking desperate measures such as drinking dirty water to survive,” Oxfam's South Sudan Director Zlatko Gegic said. “The high cost and scarcity of clean water puts people at much greater risk of deadly yet preventable diseases like cholera. 

“Families are telling us they now spend twice as much on water as they did just a few months ago,” Gegic said. “Those who can’t afford it have reduced their daily consumption to dangerous levels. Some have little choice but to rely on dirty water from the Nile for their survival, exposing them to serious risk of disease. 

“We need to act now,” Gegic said. “We appeal to South Sudan’s leaders to prioritize investment in water and health infrastructure to prevent future outbreaks. The provision of public services should top the budgetary agenda. Donors should urgently fund life-saving activities such as chlorination for water trucks and rehabilitation of water systems. 

“Oxfam strongly appeals to South Sudanese leaders to end the war and focus on delivery of essential services,” Gegic said. “Without peace, the economy will continue to deteriorate and clean water will remain out of reach for many.”

Organizations in this story

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