Many memories of South Sudan will remain with me forever. Sad memories of seeing first-hand the dire circumstances many people have to endure or of witnessing the death of a small child. Disturbing images like seeing a small boy play with an imitation AK47 possibly trying to mimic his father or other men. But mostly happy memories of seeing a mother’s joy when her child gets better, the appreciation of our staff for training and coaching given, the surprise on people’s faces when I talked to them in my few words of Nuer, of working together with the rest of the team and of the beautiful sunsets.
Registration should not be a condition for receiving assistance in any emergency crisis. Yet access to humanitarian aid is seriously hampered by the difficulties many refugees encounter in registering on arrival in Lebanon. The roll out of aid must be accelerated and expanded.
The situation is extremely bad. We have no sewage system and had to dig holes in the ground. When it rains the water flows into the tents so the kids get sick. It’s also very cold and most families don’t have heaters, so we have to burn all sorts of materials. The kids are sick. Ourmost important concern here right now is medical care. We need doctors.
This is…what we’re here for: responding to the most urgent and immediate medical needs. It is incredible what we have been able to achieve, but it’s not enough. There is always something more that can be done, and we have to fight to make sure these people have what they need, not just to survive, but to give them dignity, give them quality of life, make sure that they can maintain the spirit that they have.
Helen Ottens-Patterson, from the United Kingdom, is a nurse and Doctors Without Borders medical coordinator in Upper Nile State’s Maban County, South Sudan.