After a recent typhoon caused severe flooding on the Philippine island of Mindanao, an MSF team is providing emergency medical assistance to people whose houses were destroyed and who are now living in evacuation centers.
"The fighters escorting the patients have now overrun the hospital. They are from the northern part of the country. They don't know us and they are better trained than the local militias, but they don't have any greater respect for us."
After fighting forced MSF to pull out of Libya, emergency coordinator Simon Burroughs talks about the effort to get back into the country and the need for all parties to allow medical staff to work freely.
In the immediate aftermath of last January’s earthquake, the potential of an outbreak of disease was a major concern. Months went by without it coming to pass, though, which seemed like a rare victory for the battered population. In September, however, word came from the Artibonite region in central Haiti, , that patients were presenting with cholera-like symptoms. Cholera had not been seen in Haiti in many decades, but the signs—rapid and severe dehydration caused by excessive vomiting and diarrhea—were all too apparent.
MSF physician Cameron Bopp returned in July after several months in Africa. Here, he discusses his time in Malawi, during which he was tasked with overseeing the emergency response to the measles outbreak and setting up vaccination programs.
"The situation remains critical. Few aid agencies are in place. Hundreds of bodies are still stuck in buildings. In the entire city, I've only seen about four or five trucks and cranes removing pieces of collapsed buildings so they can get the people out."
During the response to Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic earlier this year, medical teams from Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) started to work in prisons across the country to treat cholera patients and prevent the spread of the deadly disease. As the four-month intervention is concluding, MSF’s project coordinator in Zimbabwe, Pip Millard, gives insight into the challenge of curbing an outbreak in penitentiaries.
Since September 2008, LRA rebels from neighboring Uganda have committed acts of extreme violence against people in Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé provinces in northeastern DRC. In March, the situation deteriorated further when countries in the region launched a joint military offensive against the LRA.
"Violence has never stopped, it has always been present. Sometimes it is the result of the political conflict between the government and armed groups and sometimes it is different: banditry or intra-community conflicts."
All these people had fled their villages in a hurry, and it was difficult for them to get health care because they couldn’t pay for it. That’s why it was so important for us to provide free medical consultations in both locations.
Despite ongoing conflict that has made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to be in Iraq, since 2006 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has set up medical projects for populations in Anbar, Tameen, Ninewa, Sulemaniya, Baghdad, and Basra. MSF also runs a project in Jordan for Iraqi war wounded. Khalil Sayyad recently returned from Basra, southern Iraq, where he worked as Field Coordinator for nine months. He was part of MSF's first international team to establish a presence in Iraq since 2004, when high insecurity led MSF to leave country.
Some 900 people have been systematically murdered in a string of brutal attacks across northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since the end of 2008. The attacks were carried out in the country’s Haut Uélé Province by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group active in Uganda and Sudan for over two decades.
For the past several weeks Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been assessing the refugee situation at the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, more than 27,000 people have crossed the border with Uganda since the end of August. Monique Doux, Field Coordinator in Matanda Refugee camp, close to the border town of Ishasha, talks about the situation there.
Since fighting broke out in and around the town of Kiwanja on November 5th and 6th, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) surgical teams have treated more than 50 wounded people in the MSF-supported hospital in the neighboring town of Rutshuru. Thousands of people who have fled the fighting in Kiwanja have sought shelter on the road between the two towns, in churches, and even inside Rutshuru hospital. Thierry Allafort, Emergency Coordinator, describes the situation in Rutshuru.
Annie Desilets is the project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Kitchanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province. She’s with a team of more than 160 MSF staff working 85 km – or four hours by road – north of provincial capital, Goma. There are two camps in the Kitchanga area. One has an estimated 25,000 displaced people, while the other has 18,000. And the numbers are growing. The medical teams are concerned about an increase in upper respiratory infections and cholera cases
In August, 200,000 people fled fighting in the tribal area of Bajaur Agency, in the northwestern region of the country. Fabien Schneider, head of mission for Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Pakistan, describes the situation.
Chris Sauer, a fire chief in the Lake Tahoe area of California, has been on five assignments with MSF since 1998, most recently in Tawila in North Darfur. Sauer served as interim project coordinator from February to March 2008. Here, he describes his experience.
With an international conference of donor governments meeting over the weekend in Yangon, Myanmar, MSF Emergency Coordinator Jean-Sebastien Matte describes the needs that remain more than three weeks after Cyclone Nargis struck the country.
For patients with advanced HIV, complications from CMV retinitis— most notably blindness—are preventable. However, screening and treatment are out of reach in many places where CMV retinitis is prevalent.
When fighting erupted between armed groups and government forces in the North Kivu province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August 2007, it forced an estimated 10,000 Congolese to flee for safety over the border into Uganda. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) helped set up a transit site in Nyakabanda, situated about 10 miles from the DRC border in Uganda’s Kisoro district. Nurse Laura Cobey arrived to be field coordinator for the MSF project in October, just as a renewed surge in fighting pushed another wave of Congolese to seek refuge in Nyakabanda. Cobey describes the quick opening of the site and conditions for the estimated 13,000 people who lived there until its December closing.
Every year, thousands of people risk their lives crossing the Gulf of Aden: Somalis fleeing the fighting in their country and Ethiopians leaving because they cannot find work back home, for political reasons, or because of the conflict in the Somali region. Conditions of the voyage are terrible and on almost every crossing people die. This year alone an estimated 28,000 people arrived at the along the coast of Yemen, with 651 confirmed dead and another 659 missing. The actual death toll is probably much higher.
Violence in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has intensified since August 2007, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and creating major obstacles for people to access health care. Jane Coyne, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) head of mission in DRC, provides an update of situation in North Kivu, and explains the toll that lack of basic health care is taking on the people of this region.
MSF has been working in Paoua since March 2006. Despite the constant threat of attack, the population has recently managed to move around again, on most roads, within 30 kilometers around the town. The hospital in the town is extremely busy, and MSF is also in the process of resuming its activities in the surrounding area, by supporting health posts there. Delphine Chedorge, MSF head of mission, describes the situation on the ground.
On April 17, 2007 MSF launched an emergency medical response in Afgooye, Lower Shabelle Region, about 30 kilometers west of Mogadishu. Due to insecurity in the area, MSF decided to dispatch a team of senior MSF Somali staff from Nairobi and the Dinsor Health Center to evaluate the needs of thousands of displaced people who poured into the town following major fighting in Mogadishu.
People have been fleeing Mogadishu since the start of the clashes, but the last month has seen a real increase of people arriving in the Hiraan, Galgadud and Bay regions and also in Afgooye. We think that there are about 10 to 12,000 families who have fled to Afgooye from Mogadishu, with an average of 6 people per family. They're mostly women and children, there are very few men.
Since mid-2006 violence has dramatically increased in scale and intensity in the northern parts of Central African Republic—with grave consequences for the civilians who are caught in the crossfire of a number of armed groups.
Philip Humphris is Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) head of mission for West Darfur state in Sudan. He has returned from western Darfur and, as the number of aid agencies in Darfur continues to decrease, explains what MSF is doing in this region.
Since November 2005, various rebel groups have appeared in the northwest region of the country, in the Ouham and Ouham Pendé prefectures. Since then, the civilian population has been subject to considerable abuse, beginning in the Paoua region, expanding to the area around Markounda and, more recently, in the Kabo region.
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