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News for the Week of August 13, 1998
August 13, 1998
Famine Spreads in Southern Sudan
Every day, 120 people are dying out of a population of 17,500 in and around the town of Ajiep in the Bahr el Ghazal province of southern Sudan, according to an MSF survey.
MSF has 91 international staff working on the relief effort for southern Sudan. In addition this emergency program, MSF runs programs to treat kala azar (visceral leischmaniasis), Guinea worm, and river blindness in southern Sudan.
Bringing Aid to China's Flood Victims
"Imagine that each and every one of the 250 million Americans had feet that were covered with water right now. That is exactly what the people in China are experiencing right now." — Justine Geldard, Communications Officer, MSF
In the wake of massive floods in China, MSF is providing medical care and distributing emergency supplies in a number of prefectures of Hunan, Sichaun, and Yunnan provinces. Says nurse Alyson Froud in Hunan Province, "The main problem is access, as the roads have been washed away. We are trying to gain access because we believe that the needs in this area are great in view of the poverty of most of the prefecture and the fact that this area has been cut off for most of the past two months."
MSF Evacuates Team from Eastern Congo
MSF evacuated its international staff from the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (the cities of Goma, Bukavu and Kisangani) because of the recent unrest in the country. Medical teams working in the province of Kivu on the Rwandan border had been threatened by armed rebels and government soldiers. Among the 10 evacuees were two Americans.
Letter from Kosovo
from Joelle Tanguy, Executive Director, MSF-USA, August 12, 1998
MSF has been working in Kosovo since 1993, providing medical supplies to local clinics, training health personnel, and improving water and sanitation systems. Since fighting broke out in Kosovo in the spring of 1998, MSF has been operating mobile clinics to reach displaced populations and others who are unable to gain access to health care.
"The latest offensive of Serb forces in Kosovo has targeted mostly villages and small towns, forcing populations to flee into the hills. Previous attacks, in recent months, had forced families to take refuge in other villages, in the houses of relatives. But the latest offensive, so widespread, seems to have displaced too many to be accommodated in private homes. According to some sources, between 50,000 and 70,000 have been displaced by this latest phase of the conflict, declared two weeks ago. And according to UNHCR, the total number of IDPs in Kosovo is reaching 200,000, a tenth of the population!
"MSF teams, despite tremendous difficulty at checkpoints, have been able, by insistence and obstinance, to gain access to groups of displaced people hiding in the hills, and to be a firsthand witness to their tragedy. For a large part of the Drenica region, the formula is the same: villagers escape into the hills as the villages were attacked, mostly by shelling; Serbian police forces take control of the shelled villages.. In many of these villages, fields and houses are set ablaze not only by the shelling but apparently days after the shelling too, possibly intentionally by arson, reportedly to prevent the displaced populations return, a sad reminder of the practices adopted in the Bosnia ethnic cleansing.