Nearly 100 die from mystery illness in South Sudan, WHO investigates - GulfToday

Nearly 100 die from mystery illness in South Sudan, WHO investigates


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Gulf Today Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has opened an investigation into the deaths of nearly100 people affected by unidentified disease in Fangak, Jonglei State of South Sudan.

A special task force from the WHO has been dispatched to the region after latest confirmation from health officials from last week reported dozens have died in the region that has also been struck by devastating floods.

"We decided to send a quick response group to go to a risk assessment and investigation.”

They will take samples from sick people.

Provisionally the figure reported was 89 deaths, WHO's Sheila Baya told media.

Baya confirmed the team was unable to reach the area due to the floods — which the UN has called the worst in 60 years — and they are awaiting for a helicopter to transport to the capital on Wednesday.

South Sudan’s Minister Lam Tungwar Kueigwong stated that the floods had brought with it the increase risk of diseases such as malaria and malnutrition in children due to food shortage.

He added that oil from the area's fields contaminated the water, even causing the death of domesticated animals.

Floods in South Sudan have impacted some 835,000 people with 35,000 people displaced according to the UN.

Leaders in the hard-hit regions call the floods the worst since the 1960s.

“We are feeling climate change. We are feeling it,” said John Payai Manyok, the country’s deputy director for climate change.

“We feel the drought, we feel the floods. And this is becoming a crisis.

“It leads to food insecurity, it leads to more conflicts in the region because people compete for the few available resources.” International charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which operates in the area, said the chaos caused by the deluge now evolves pressure on health facilities.

MSF said: “We are extremely concerned about malnutrition, with severe acute malnutrition levels twice above the WHO threshold and the number of children admitted to our hospital suffering from severe malnutrition has doubled since the start of the floods.”

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