December 13, 2012

On December 10 the town of Ndélé, in northeastern Central African Republic (CAR), was the target of an attack by the “Union des Forces Démocratique pour le Rassemblement” (UFDR). After a morning exchange of gunfire between the UFDR and the “Forces Armées Centrafricaines” (FACA) the UFDR took control of part of the town. Some FACA casualties were reported and one wounded civilian was transferred to Ndélé hospital and received care from the MSF team. The majority of the population left town to avoid the fighting. Three to four hundred people, mostly women and children, are currently at the airstrip, which is secured by the “Force Multinationale de l’Afrique Centrale” (FOMAC). The “Convention des Patriotes pour la Justice et la Paix” (CPJP), a former rebel group now waiting for the Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration process in Ndélé, did not engage in direct hostilities with UFDR.

Part of the MSF team was evacuated by air on December 11 and the remaining skeleton team (4 international and 12 national staff, all medical and nurses) is continuing its services at the hospital. So far MSF has treated two injured persons and reported two deaths caused by the recent fighting. Three displaced children were also brought to the hospital for consultation. MSF will send a small mobile clinic team to do consultations and will revise the needs on a daily basis. If there are no military offensives over the next few days the population is expected to return with minimal consequences, though consultations for respiratory infections and diarrhea are likely. The International Committee of the Red Cross is providing water, and food has also been provided.

MSF started its project in Ndélé in 2010 and works in the Ndélé hospital and in 8 health posts in the area. MSF provides free medical care for about 52,000 people, mainly displaced victims of violence. MSF services include primary and secondary health care, nutrition, treatment of neglected diseases, and outreach activities. Vaccination, sleeping sickness, HIV, and tuberculosis are also main features of MSF work in CAR. All diseases are treated with a special focus on malaria, the main morbidity in the region. The team is normally composed of 8 international, 25 national, and 130 local staff.