Suffering Under Protection in South Sudan

 

Nearly 30,000 people live in the United Nations Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. A similar site in Bentui holds more than 150,000 people. Unique to South Sudan, the PoCs were created when thousands of people sought protection on UN bases following the start of the civil war in December 2013. The sites were meant to serve as temporary refuge, but more than five years later, they’ve only grown, as people prefer to live in relative safety rather than return to uncertainty. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs hospitals inside both Malakal and Bentiu camps, and continues to see high levels of medical and mental health needs. Life is bleak and extremely difficult in the PoCs, where people live in miserable conditions while also dealing with the trauma of war and displacement. “People are not happy after they’ve lost everything,” says Achol, a displaced woman in Malakal PoC. “There have been many deaths. Some even say it would be better to kill themselves.”