South Sudan: "We Didn't Want to Leave Our Patients Behind"

Riaz Hussain/MSF

For the past two years, Francis Ronyo worked as a nurse at the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Wau Shilluk, South SudanFrancis was on duty when the order was given to evacuate Wau Shilluk and flee to Kodok.

On February 3, 2017, I was on duty at the MSF hospital. The fighting was getting closer to the town, and the remaining civilian population had started to flee. My team carried on working until it was too dangerous to stay.

We had patients who had been admitted that afternoon. We didn't want to leave our patients behind. It was a difficult decision to leave the hospital while we were still receiving patients in critical condition.

I was the supervisor of the nurses in the hospital, and we decided to load the patients onto a tractor and trailer and go with them to Kodok.

On the way, we saw people fleeing in the same direction with no water or means of transport. We picked up some of the wounded and the sick. Some of our staff jumped out to make space for them on the trailer. Unfortunately, one of our patients died on the way. By midnight, we arrived at the hospital in Kodok with 13 patients.

Read More: "I Am Tired of Running"

When I arrived in Kodok, I didn´t have a place to stay and ended up sleeping in the open with the rest of the people from Wau Shilluk. I decided to continue serving the sick and the wounded any way I could. Initially, I started helping at the hospital that is run by another organization in Kodok, which was overwhelmed by the number of patients it received. Since February 20, I have been working at the MSF clinic in Aburoch, providing medical assistance to the displaced people.

My future is unclear, and I don´t know what will happen to all of us from Wau Shilluk. I have my family in Yei, in the Greater Equatorian region. I took them away from here in 2014 because I was afraid for them and I wanted them to be safe.

At the moment, I’m having trouble communicating with them. Last week, I cycled 45 kilometers [about 28 miles] to make a phone call to my wife and children. The telephone network was shut down in January 2017, and I am worried about their security.

Currently, the situation here is incomparable to that of Wau Shilluk, where we lived just a few weeks ago. Here, there is hardly any water, shelter or food. We are suffering.

Read More: Urgent Humanitarian Assistance Needed for Thousands Who Fled Fighting in Wau Shilluk