Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

16 November 2012

Sudan: Dozens Die of Yellow Fever in Darfur

Photo: Norbert Domy/Sanofi Pasteur
A Yellow Fever vaccination drive (file photo).

Darfur — Citizens from Darfur are living in 'panic and fear' due to the continuing spread of yellow fever in the region that killed dozens of people by Friday, 16 November, according to the latest reports Radio Dabanga received.

Residents from different parts of Darfur blame the federal government for neglecting its own people by preventing aid organizations from helping those affected and for not providing vaccines against the disease.

Central Darfur: 72 dead

Issa Mohamed Musa Yusuf, the minister of health from Central Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that 72 people died of yellow fever in the state by Friday. Besides, he said, 296 people got infected so far.

The minister also told Radio Dabanga that one person died on Thursday afternoon at a Zalingei hospital as a result of the disease.

In addition, he continued, one person from Bindissi locality and another three from Um Dukhun locality got recently infected with yellow fever. Cases have also been reported in Jebel Ahmer, Zalingei locality, he revealed.

Yusuf said yellow fever infections are mostly found in the countryside of Central Darfur, adding this is the disease's worst epidemic in Darfur.

Bishara El-Tayeb: 35 victims

According to a citizen from Bishara El-Tayeb, Central Darfur, 35 people died in the village since the yellow fever outbreak one month ago. Besides, a total of six people were diagnosed with the disease on Friday, he said, explaining the spread of yellow fever cannot be contained.

He stressed that so far no medical team has arrived in the region, despite the fact they asked authorities from Nertiti, Zalingei and Kabkabiya, in addition to UNAMID, to intervene as soon as possible.

Radio Dabanga spoke with residents from the areas of Gorne, Bishara El-Tayeb, Shenmue and Kebe in Nertiti locality, Central Darfur. They all complained about the high incidence of deaths caused by the continuous spread of yellow fever in the area.

'Empty syringes'

Empty syringes have arrived at the El-Geneina airport, in West Darfur, on Friday according to Minister Yusuf. He told Radio Dabanga he expects the vaccines' doses to arrive in the region by the end of the last week of November.

The minister appealed to citizens from Central Darfur to immediately yellow fever cases at the nearest medical center and to follow the ministry's preventive instructions.

West Darfur: 40 deaths

Ahmed Ishaq Yaqoup, health minister of West Darfur, announced that 40 people died and another 113 got infected as a result of the spread of yellow fever in the state.

He asserted that rural areas are mostly affected, citing specifically zones around El-Geneina, Mornei and Habila.

The minister also confirmed the incidence of the disease in other localities in West Darfur.

SRF calls for UN intervention

At the same time the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) called on the UN to immediately intervene and contain the yellow fever epidemic in Darfur.

Dr. Jibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Vice President of the External Relations and Humanitarian Affairs of the SRF, stated that the UN's intervention in Darfur became a 'necessity'.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Ibrahim said the increasing death rates and infections caused by yellow fever, added to its spread and the 'deliberate' delay of the government to contain the disease, have transformed Darfur into a 'disaster region'.

He urgently required the UN to launch a vaccination campaign in Darfur by the end of this week, as there are 'strong indications the government will not do anything about it, as it neglects its own people'.

Lastly, Jibril suggested that nomads are mostly affected by the yellow fever.

East Jebel Marra: 'poisonings'

Residents from East Jebel Marra, North Darfur, claim that cases of poisoning and unknown viruses are spreading in the region for more than two months now. They told Radio Dabanga remnants of the bombs dropped in the area are poisoning them.

Regarding yellow fever, activists and displaced from Zam Zam camp blame the central government for the spread of the disease that 'claims more lives every day'.

They told Radio Dabanga the government does not take the matter seriously as it did not yet send medical teams to the area, while it is telling the media the disease is under control.

Additionally, the sources expressed doubt concerning the yellow fever figures provided by the department of health of the states of Darfur.

North Darfur citizens called on the government of Sudan to allow Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to immediately send medical teams to East Jebel Marra before it is too late and before the fever spreads in the 'overcrowded camps'.

Khartoum

The undersecretary of the federal Ministry of Health announced he expects vaccinations against yellow fever to arrive on Saturday or Sunday in Sudan, during a news conference in Khartoum, Radio Dabanga learned on Friday.

He said that once in Sudan, the vaccines will be sent to Darfur. Hopefully, he concluded, the vaccination process will begin by the end of the next week.

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