IOM Director General Condemns Attack on Humanitarian Convoy in South Sudan

IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing, today condemned an attack on a humanitarian convoy in South Sudan on 14 March, which resulted in the death of two people and left three others injured.

“I unequivocally condemn the attack on IOM staff, health workers and civilians, who were assaulted during a lifesaving humanitarian mission in Yirol East County, South Sudan,” said Ambassador Swing.

While a convoy was returning to Yirol from a field mission on 14 March, one of the vehicles was ambushed by unknown armed gunmen. Tragically, two people died of gunshot wounds. Among the injured was an IOM health officer who sustained a gunshot wound but is currently in a stable condition.

“This tragic attack on aid workers and civilians is appalling. The assault took place in an area of South Sudan in dire need of assistance due to a deadly outbreak of cholera. In a country overwhelmed by the huge lack of basic necessities due to conflict, famine and health epidemics, these types of attacks undoubtedly harm the ability of humanitarian partners to provide assistance to millions in need of lifesaving aid,” Ambassador Swing added.

The identity and motivation of the attackers remain unknown.

A joint IOM health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) team of 12 had deployed to Yirol East County, in central South Sudan, on 17 February to provide assistance to communities affected by a cholera outbreak that began in early February, with more than 300 cases and 10 deaths reported to date.

IOM health staff were supporting four cholera treatment units in Yirol East County, working closely with health actors on the ground to ensure coordinated social mobilization activities. To mitigate the spread of cholera, IOM WASH staff also undertook borehole rehabilitation, hygiene promotion and distribution of hygiene supplies, including water purification tablets, reaching more than 25,000 people.

Across South Sudan, IOM is responding to the emergency needs of millions affected by the crisis that erupted in December 2013. Over 7.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance this year, including nearly 5 million facing severe food insecurity and 1.8 million displaced internally.

Amid an already difficult operating environment, insecurity and access constraints continually hinder the ability of IOM and other aid agencies to reach the most vulnerable in many parts of the country.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.   

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WHO and partners scaling up measles vaccination to reach 2.3 million children in South Sudan

WHO South Sudan in partnership with the MoH, UNICEF and other partners including state directors general for health and Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) officers of all states, gathered from 17 to 21 January 2017 at Juba Grand Hotel to plan on how to reach 2.3 million persons with measles vaccines in the face of a difficult operating environment.

The experts planned and discussed training of  lower levels on micro plan development at Payam (village) level;  implementation of measles follow up campaign in all counties;  how to enhance the skills of the key personnel in the areas of advocacy, communication and social mobilisation for the campaign; managing  the cold chain system including  vaccine storage and ice packs distribution; strategies for implementation in high health risk/security compromised areas; strategies for increasing the capacities of the personnel involved on other important aspects of the  campaign namely: monitoring and supervision, data management, managing  clients with adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) and timely reporting AEFIs during the campaign as well as waste management .

Dr Makur M. Kariom, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health acknowledged WHO and partners’ role in organizing the planning of the campaign and urged participants to stay focused and determined in order to achieve a 95% coverage.

Over 80 persons from different agencies and state ministries will coordinate the planning as well as  monitor and supervise the measles follow up campaign at all levels. They will ensure the development of county and payam level micro plans prior to commencing the nation-wide measles follow up campaign in March 2017.  The campaign will target about 2.3 million children aged six months to 59 months with measles vaccine.

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