Over the past few days, hundreds of people have been wounded and thousands have been displaced by heavy fighting in South Sudan’s Upper Nile, Unity, and Jonglei states, says the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and MSF teams in Malakal and Nasir in Upper Nile State have treated 116 people with gunshot wounds.
“The fighting in Malakal in the past few days has limited our ability to reach displaced people in the places where they are gathering and is preventing people from receiving the medical and humanitarian assistance they desperately need,” says Raphael Gorgeu, MSF’s head of mission in South Sudan.
“While day on day we continue to treat more wounded patients in our hospitals, we are also concerned about the living conditions of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people across the country, most of whom fled their homes with nothing and have little food, water, or access to health care,” says Gorgeu.
The medical needs of the displaced people are putting existing health facilities under increasing pressure. Some clinics and hospitals are already overwhelmed. MSF is therefore reinforcing its emergency teams to respond to people’s increasing health and humanitarian needs.
In recent weeks, MSF emergency teams have stepped up their support to displaced people in Awerial, Lakes State, and in the capital, Juba. MSF teams have also recently started providing support to displaced people fleeing from Bentiu towards Leer, in Unity State; in Nasir and Malakal, Upper Nile State; in Lankien, Jonglei State; and in Nimule, in Eastern Equatoria State on the Ugandan border. Outside the country MSF teams are supporting the Ugandan and Kenyan Ministries of Health in providing health care and clean water to refugees, while a team is also carrying out an assessment in Ethiopia.
At the same time, MSF teams in South Sudan are continuing to run their regular projects across the country. MSF currently has a total of 15 projects in nine of South Sudan’s ten states. In the past month, all MSF teams working in South Sudan have collectively provided 41,899 consultations, admitted 1,628 patients to its medical facilities, carried out 282 surgeries, assisted 852 deliveries, and treated 655 war-wounded. Fifty tons of medical and logistical supplies have been distributed to its projects.
MSF calls on all parties to this conflict to respect the integrity of medical facilities, to allow aid organizations to access affected communities, and to allow patients to receive medical treatment irrespective of their origin or ethnicity.
MSF has been working in the region that today constitutes the Republic of South Sudan since 1983, and currently runs 11 regular projects in nine of the country’s ten states—in Agok, Aweil, Gogrial, Leer, Maban, Malakal, Nasir, Yambio, Lankien, Yuai, and Yida—and four emergency responses, in Juba, Awerial, Malakal, and Nimule. In addition to providing basic and specialist health care services, MSF also responds to emergencies, including large-scale displacement, refugee influxes, malnutrition, and peaks of disease such as measles, malaria, acute watery diarrhea, and kala azar. MSF currently has 278 international staff working in its projects alongside 2,890 South Sudanese staff.
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