Chad: MSF treats war-wounded people fleeing conflict in Sudan

At a hospital in Adré, most of the injuries MSF teams are treating are gunshot wounds inflicted in clashes and attacks in Masterei, a Sudanese border town.

Sudanese war wounded in Adre

Chad 2023 © Sky News

As violence and fighting rages on in Sudan and forces people to flee their homes, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated more than 70 wounded people—including a 3-year-old child—at a hospital in Adré in the eastern Ouaddaï province of Chad. Most of the injuries that MSF and local health authorities have treated at this facility are gunshot wounds inflicted in clashes and attacks in Masterei, a Sudanese border town south of West Darfur’s capital, El Geneina. Approximately 100,000  people have fled to Chad since the fighting started in Sudan in April.

"The wounded first arrived in dribs and drabs from mid-May onwards, then around fifty people in need of medical care poured in over the last few days," said Christophe Garnier, MSF’s emergency coordinator. "Most of them have sustained bullet wounds in clashes and attacks south of El Geneina in Masterei—a border town with a population of around 80,000—including many displaced people from surrounding villages.”

The wounded arrived in the Chadian town of Goungour, which is approximately six miles from Masterei, and were then referred by ministry of health and MSF teams to the hospital in Adré. Those who made it to Chad said that many people who were in critical condition in Masterei were left behind, unable to travel to Chad or access medical care in West Darfur amid the violence there.

"Refugees from West Darfur are reporting very disturbing scenes of violence, with armed men shooting at people trying to flee on foot, villages being looted, and the wounded dying,” Garnier said. “The hospitals on the ground are short of staff, equipment, and electricity, which is affecting their ability to function—if they have not already been put out of action by the destruction and looting.”

Adré, Chad
MSF teams treat war-wounded people in Adré who have fled conflict in Sudan.
Chad 2023 © MSF

MSF has been operational in Adré since 2021, working with the Chadian health authorities to meet the needs of longer-term and newly arrived Sudanese refugees and the host population. In the last week, MSF-supported health centers in Adré, Hilouta, and Mahamata have seen an increase of around 40 percent in pediatric consultations, partly linked to the arrival of new refugees in the area. MSF teams are also travelling to sites where refugees are gathered, such as Goungour, to offer medical consultations. MSF also provides medical care to refugees and host communities in Sila province.

Additionally, MSF is carrying out vaccination campaigns to protect children against measles a disease that can spread rapidly when people are living close to each other, like in refugee camps. So far, more than 30,000 children have been vaccinated against measles in Koufroun, Diza, Midjiguilta, and Goungour.

“With the onset of the rainy season, the already extremely precarious living conditions in the makeshift camps will worsen," Garnier said. “The flooding of rivers will complicate the possibilities of movement and supply. Even more so as this period is accompanied every year by a very high malaria prevalence and corresponds to the most difficult months in terms of food insecurity and child malnutrition in the region."

The cessation of trade with El Geneina—the region's economic powerhouse—is also likely to exacerbate the surge in prices of staple foods in an area that is highly vulnerable to food insecurity. The response to the urgent needs of the people who have recently fled Darfur must also consider those of the local communities and the 400,000 or so Sudanese refugees who have been living in overcrowded and unsanitary camps for several years in eastern Chad.