Coronavirus – South Sudan: COVID-19 in humanitarian crises: a double emergency

Coronavirus – South Sudan: COVID-19 in humanitarian crises: a double emergency

The International Rescue Committee’s analysis and approach to COVID-19 draws on decades of experience as a humanitarian and health responder in the world’s most complex crises, including as one of the largest responders to the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa and the DRC and Cholera in Yemen – the largest outbreaks of the diseases in modern history. IRC’s experience finds conflict-affected and fragile countries face a double emergency:

  1. The direct impact of COVID-19 and its lethal and destructive direct impact on unprepared health care systems and populations with pre-existing vulnerabilities;
  2. The secondary havoc the disease will cause to these states’ already fragile humanitarian, economic, security and political environments.

COVID-19 is in the early stages of spreading to less developed and fragile countries, which means there is still time to mount a coordinated response that can ease suffering today and guard against dangerous secondary impacts tomorrow. But the time to act is now. Protracted economic, political and security crises have rendered many countries ill-equipped to respond to the disease. The four countries discussed in this report – South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen – as well as camps for displaced populations around the world have weakened health systems unable to meet existing needs. Nearly half (46%) of the people in those four countries already lack access to basic health services. While the United States and Europe face shortages of ventilators, intensive care units, and protective equipment, many conflict-affected and fragile countries have virtually none to begin with:

• In South Sudan, there are just 24 ICU beds and four ventilators. With existing life-saving humanitarian programs globally facing unprecedented disruption and suspension, countries like South Sudan with high levels of malnutrition may face famine.

• Northeast Syria has only 28 ICU beds and 11 ventilators in the hospitals identified to quarantine and treat suspected COVID-19 cases. In Northwest Syria, there are only 105 ICU beds and 30 adult ventilators.
Across Northern Syria, there were 85 attacks on health facilities last year alone and the country is likely to see further instability if we see actors like ISIS capitalizing on chaos to gain further ground.

• In Yemen, only half of the hospitals are still fully functional and some two-thirds of the population cannot access healthcare. It is one of the most complex operating environments for humanitarians, with bureaucratic delays and impediments already slowing the response. Major donors have also begun to reduce and suspend aid in northern Yemen just as the pandemic began, which could further degrade preparedness and response.

• In Venezuela, the existing humanitarian crisis has already forced more than half of doctors to leave the country, 9 out of 10 hospitals to face shortages of medicine and critical supplies, and left only 84 ICU beds nationwide. The country will likely face further economic crisis and reductions in public services, which not only threaten the lives of millions of Venezuelans, but are likely to heighten political tensions.

• Meanwhile, camps in Syria, Greece and Bangladesh represent some of the most densely populated areas in the world – up to 8.5 times more densely populated than the Diamond Princes cruise ship, where transmission of the virus was four times faster than in Wuhan, China. In parts of Moria camp, Greece, over 1,300 people share one tap and over 200 share a latrine. Rohingya refugees in one site in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh could face 590,000 infections and over 2,100 deaths in a year if high transmission occurs, according to new research from Johns Hopkins.

  1. Provide new, fast, sustainable, and flexible financing to COVID-19 frontline responders to quickly reach those most vulnerable. At least 30% of the immediate Global Humanitarian Response Plan financing should be directed to frontline NGOs, already positioned to scale up COVID responses, and donors need to ready significant additional resources to reach the scale of need. The time to act is now to avert dire humanitarian, economic and political stability consequences.
  2. Remove constraints to humanitarian action and service delivery – both conflict driven and bureaucratic. New travel and movement restrictions related to COVID-19 must include humanitarian exceptions to ensure flow of humanitarian goods and personnel to those in need.
  3. Develop an inclusive and integrated response, built on lessons learned, to support the specific needs of the most vulnerable populations. Include vulnerable populations like refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), migrants and other marginalized populations) in national COVID-19 preparedness plans.
  4. Strengthen multilateral coordination and a harmonized global response to enable those in fragile and conflict-affected states to play the role required of them to fight a global pandemic. All states, but particularly the US and European Union (EU), must eliminate restrictions on the export of COVID-19 supplies.
  5. Address underlying causes of crisis and maintain support for existing humanitarian responses. Invest in health systems of vulnerable countries to strengthen their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases.
H.E, President Salva Kiir Mayardit meets from South Sudan Basketball Federation delegation

H.E, President Salva Kiir Mayardit meets from South Sudan Basketball Federation delegation

Source: South Sudan Presidential Unit
H.E, President Salva Kiir Mayardit met with a delegation from South Sudan Basketball Federation, headed by the President of the Federation Luol Aldo Ajou, at the State House on Friday.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, the Executive Director in the Office of the President James Deng Wal said, President Kiir discussed with the delegation their plans of improving basketball in South Sudan.

Meanwhile, the President of South Sudan Basketball Federation Luol Aldo Ajou said the federation would do its best to improve basketball in the country by training and forming women and under eighteen basketball teams.

Prequalification for Environmental Audit of Oilfields extended

Prequalification for Environmental Audit of Oilfields extended

JUBA, South Sudan, January 22, 2020/APO Group/ –On the 9th of January, 2020, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan announced a tender for a comprehensive environmental audit of all the country’s producing oilfields. The Ministry of Petroleum made prequalification documents available to interested companies from its Juba headquarters, and its website.

Due to the amount of interest, and requests from some companies to extend the deadline, the Ministry’s Environmental Tender Audit Committee has announced an extension to the deadline to submit documentation by seven (7) more days. The deadline is now 16h00, 27 January, 2020.

The Ministry is treating this process as both very importance and urgent. The Petroleum Act of 2012, which governs the oil sector in South Sudan, aims to improve management of the environmental impact of the sector after years of neglect prior to independence.

The civil war also prevented proper management of the environment.

President Salva Kiir has made it clear that the country needs to implement proper environmental standards and guidelines “to safeguard the exploration and exploitation in the extractive industry that has led to pollution in the oilfields and in the surrounding areas.”

The Ministry is treating this process as both very importance and urgent

The President states environmental policies, standards and guidelines need to be formulated and enforced.

The issue is just as important for the Minister of Petroleum, Hon. Awow Daniel Chuang, who believes that understanding the pollution damage will allow the country to put systems in place to prevent further damage as the country increases oil production.

An international independent organization will be appointed to conduct the audit, suggest best practices for new exploration, and propose methods to repair historical environmental damage in South Sudan.

Tender pre-qualification documents for conducting a Full Environmental Audit will be available during office hours at the Ministry of Petroleum’s headquarters in Juba, and from its website MOP-rss.org/env-audit. The documentation is available until 27 January 2020.

Completed documentation needs to be submitted by 16h00, 27 January, 2020 to:

1. Electronic Submissions:
wanyak@mopam.goss.org
audit@mopam.goss.org

2. Hardcopy Submissions to be delivered in a sealed envelope addressed to:
Environmental Audit Tender Committee Secretary
Ministry of Petroleum HQ
Ministries Road, Juba
Republic of South Sudan
PO Box 376

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum.

South Sudan rivals agree to meet unity government deadline

South Sudan rivals agree to meet unity government deadline

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s rival leaders have agreed to form a coalition government by the February deadline, a South African special envoy says.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in their latest talks this week also agreed that key outstanding issues under the country’s 2018 peace deal would be arbitrated within 90 days of the new government’s formation, South African Deputy President David Mabuza said Thursday.

The United States and others have pressured South Sudan’s rival leaders to meet the Feb. 22 deadline after they failed to meet one in November. The country’s five-year civil war that erupted just two years after South Sudan won independence from Sudan killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced millions.

Key issues that remain include the number of states South Sudan should have. Mabuza said that question will be submitted to other signatories of the peace deal.

Certain security issues are also outstanding but there is progress, Mabuza said. Military generals from neighboring Uganda and Sudan are leading the process of training and screening the national army as it combines with thousands of formerly armed opposition members.

“Yes, we have not covered everything that should be covered, but there is commitment things are going to come right,” Mabuza said.

Five special envoys from Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and the East African regional body were part of the meetings.

Impressive South Sudan play Kenya morans in classic final day game

Impressive South Sudan play Kenya morans in classic final day game

The Kenyan morans played against South Sudan and the game ended 74-68 on the last day of the FIBA Afro basketball pre-qualifiers at the Nyayo National Stadium Gymnasium.

Morans proceeded to FIBA Afrobasket 2021 qualifiers set in November after a pulsating clash that was marred by confusion before kick-off on Saturday.

The Kenyans were able to overcome the South Sudanese after improving on rebounds and denied their opponents chances to score three points which they seemed to have perfected in earlier matches.

Morans join Angola, Senegal, and Mozambique in the qualifiers where the top three will qualify for Africa’s top men’s tournament in 2021.

Questions emerged over Nyayo Stadium Gymnasium’s viability following crowd trouble before the pre-qualifier final showdown.

The clash which was scheduled to kick off at 6:30 pm local time had to be delayed for more than an hour after a significant number of fans stormed in the court as the teams warmed up.

The crowd, which seemed to increase in size flooded the gymnasium in minutes, forcing players from both teams to vacate the court.

FIBA officials had to clear the court for the match to resume.

South Sudan had maintained their unbeaten run in the tournament after brushing aside Burundi 100-59, before losing against aggressive Kenyans.

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

IN JUBA

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will attend peace talks in the South Sudan capital Monday with rebel leaders from several Sudanese states, said official sources in Juba.

“Tomorrow’s meeting is to mark the launching of Sudan’s peace talks,” Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, told AFP Sunday.


Hamdok, who was only appointed in August in a deal between the army and the opposition, will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

President Kiir, who just a few weeks ago signed his own peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, offered to mediate between Sudan and the rebels back in November 2018.
This new set of talks follow a first round in September when both sides agreed on a road map for the negotiations.


This week’s meeting is intended to tackle the main issues, said Ateny.
Also attending will be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last week won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Their presence, said Ateny, was to give the talks more weight.

A senior Sudanese delegation arrived in Juba on Sunday.

The Sudanese delegation will meet Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in Bule Nile and South Kordofan states. Al-Hilu will lead the rebel delegation.

This new peace initiative comes after the fall of longtime Sudanese autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April.

Prime Minister Hamdok has been tasked with leading Sudan back to civilian rule, but he has said he also wants to end the conflicts with the rebels.

Over the years, the rebels’ conflict with Khartoum have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.