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20:49:18, Thursday, 23 Oct 2014

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Humanitarian chief assesses conditions in Malakal

26 February 2014 - Following the latest attack on the Upper Nile State capital Malakal, the chief humanitarian actor in South Sudan visited the town today to assess conditions of displaced people.

“My coming to Malakal is to basically assess the current situation … and most especially the humanitarian situation of IDPs at the UNMISS PoC (protection of civilians) site,” said Humanitarian Coordinator Toby Lanzer.

Mr. Lanzer was accompanied by World Health Organization county head Dr. Abdi Aden Mohamed and other senior UN officials.

The delegation visited Malakal Teaching Hospital and Christ the King Church, where more than 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sought refuge before being transferred today to the UNMISS protection area. 

The situation at Malakal Teaching Hospital was indescribable, as dead bodies were still lying there unattended, said the humanitarian coordinator, who also serves as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.

“It is sad and indescribable to witness that kind of situation and it is also sad to see a town which was alive and busy deserted and turned to a ghost town,” he added.

During a meeting with the Committee of IDP Elders, Chairperson Mathew Chol Jok expressed concern over poor sanitation and congestion in the UNMISS PoC area.

“We thank the UN for keeping us here and for protecting us from being harmed,” Mr. Jok said. “We also thank the UN for providing us with food, water and health care, but my concern is over poor sanitation … We appeal to you to help us on this issue.”

Dr. Mohamed of WHO said the UN and other humanitarian partners would continue to improve living conditions at the PoC area.

“We will continue to provide you with food, water and health care whenever needed, and we shall for sure improve our services,” he said.

Dr. Mohamed also visited patients at the UNMISS hospital being treated by Indian peacekeepers, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Medecins sans Frontieres. Some patients had been extracted from Malakal Teaching Hospital.

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