Cholera epidemic kills nine people at the Um gargur Eritrean refugee camp

Translated from the original report in Tigrinya

Five months have passed since the outbreak of the cholera epidemic in Sudan, but the Sudanese government is still turning a blind eye to the disease and did not let the Sudanese people and the world know about this serious epidemic yet. It still considers the epidemic as a normal diarrhea disease.

It has become clear at this time that the epidemic has spread in the capital Khartoum, the states of Gedaref, Atbara and other areas in the Sudan, but the Sudanese government is still tight lipped on this very risky situation.

Two children have died at the Umm gargur Eritrean refugee camp because of the epidemic disease, before anyone was alerted of its existence in the camp. Four other people from the city of Gedaref were also infected by the disease after visiting the camp. Five women and one man died in the first two days along with the two children, and 100 others were also infected with the disease. The number has doubled in the following days, bringing the total number of cholera infected people in the camp to 230 and the death toll have reached 9 so far.

Most of the efforts to combat the epidemic in the Umm gargur Refugee camp are carried out by charity organizations and relief organizations such as Ethar, Kafel, Arhet, Altayeba and  the Sudanese Red Crescent, in addition to the UNHCR, COR (Sudanses refugee commission) and the ministry of health in the Gedaref state.

It is important to know the nature of the medical services and facilities in the Um gargur Refugee camp, where 13,000 people live and the risk of the proliferation of the epidemic among that huge number of refugees. There is only one small health facility in the camp which is supervised and operated by the Sudanese Red Crescent and funded by UNHCR. Since the small health facility has very limited medical services for such a big number of refugees in the camp, the infected people have been organized in to three groups. The first group is made of patients with severe cases, the second group is made patients with moderate cases and the third group made of the newly infected patients. Also, new tents are established to keep to accommodate infected people, while the other patients whose conditions have improved have been discharged.

The humanitarian organizations offered food and medicines aids to the stricken camp. Trucks loaded with food and medicines were seen heading to the camp. Because of shortage in medical personnel in the camp, doctors and nurses came for help to the Um gargur refugee camp from the Shagarab refugee camp, Wed sherifey and Gadaref. There were also volunteer youths who came to help from the Shagarab Refugee camp.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of the epidemic has been reduced currently compared to the first days and no new deaths except the 9 people who have died then. The number of the infected people in the first four days, as it has been mentioned earlier was 200. Then on the 13th of June, 2017, there were other 30 infected refugees and 11 ones on 14 June, 2017. The total number of infected people with the cholera epidemic so far, from 8 to 14 June, 2017 in the Um gargur Refugee camp has reached 241. Nine of those infected people have died, while some others have recovered from the disease and have been discharged. Now, the cholera outbreak in the camp is under control.

Also, entry to and exit from the Um gargur refugee camp has been restricted in this time for fear of spreading the epidemic to other areas. But, since the disease has spread out through the entire country, it is not known yet how the Sudanese government will deal with that epidemic. However, the situation in the Um gargur Refugee camp has improved as compared to the first days when the outbreak appeared because of the efforts of the humanitarian organizations.


Meanwhile, in other regions, there also is one person who has been infected in the Karkura region and another one also infected in the Wedel Helew area. There are also Eritrean refugees who live in these areas. However, no one has been infected by this epidemic disease in the Shagarab refugee camp so far.

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