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 in 2013 when thousands of people sought protection on UN bases from the violent civil war. The sites were meant to serve as temporary refuge, but six years later, they’ve only grown, as people prefer to live in relative safety rather than return to areas of conflict. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs hospitals inside both PoCs 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 overcrowded tents, suffering from lack of food, water, and sanitation, and dealing with the trauma of war and displacement. “People are not happy after they’ve lost everything,” says Achol, a displaced woman in the Malakal PoC. “There have been many deaths. Some even say it would be better to kill themselves."