Malaria is killing three children each day in an overcrowded camp sheltering civilians in South Sudan, a medical charity said, as people continue to flee fighting despite an August peace deal that has yet to be felt on the ground.
Malaria is “skyrocketing”, with 4,000 patients receiving treatment each week – about 4 percent of the population of Bentiu camp, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said in a statement.
Malaria cases in the camp, which is in the capital of northern Unity State, were 43 times higher in August and September than at the start of the year, MSF said.
Malaria spikes during the mid-year rainy season as mosquitoes, which transmit the disease, breed in stagnant water.
“The malaria outbreak in the Bentiu camp is unprecedented in scope and has been claiming the lives of far too many children,” Vanessa Cramond, MSF’s medical coordinator in Bentiu said.
Oil-rich Bentiu has been on the frontline of South Sudan’s 20 month-old civil war. As a result of fighting, the number of civilians sheltering in the United Nations (U.N.) military camp in the town has doubled since May to more than 110,000 people, MSF said.