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8 January, 2014

The ongoing fighting in various states in South Sudan continues to have serious consequences for the country’s population. For the past 3 weeks civilians have bore the brunt of raging fighting and ethnic clashes. 

About 70, 000 people, mostly women and children, have fled to the town of Awerial, having escaped clashes between government and rebel troops in Bor. Photo: Judy Waguma/MSF

MSF has dispatched emergency medical teams to the capital Juba, Awerial (Lakes State), and Malakal (Upper Nile State) to treat wounded and provide assistance to internally displaced persons.

Medical teams based in MSF’s pre-existing hospitals in Abyei, Jonglei State, and Unity State have also treated victims of violence. Furthermore, MSF has teams conducted assessments of refugee populations in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda.

Access to healthcare was already scarce in South Sudan before this crisis. Today the country is facing a humanitarian crisis with increased needs (thousands of people are displaced and hundreds wounded across the country) and a smaller response after the departure of many international organisations.

Several aid organisations have completely withdrawn their teams pre-emptively. This has led to crucial gaps in the assistance which MSF is now trying to cover – but we are having to prioritise the most acute needs. MSF has readjusted its operations and now runs 16 projects in 9 States.

There are 35, 000 displaced people still stranded at a UN bases in Juba, living in grim conditions. They tell us they dare not return home for fear of attack based on their ethnicity.  In many locations in South Sudan, we are unable to refer patients from certain groups to certain locations, due to ethnic tensions and violence.

The lack of security prevents us from accessing some of the most affected areas. Pregnant women and children might see their condition deteriorate rapidly if they can’t get access to healthcare.

There is a risk of epidemics especially among groups of displaced people.  MSF teams are already treating high numbers of malaria, acute diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, measles cases and Kala Azar.

In just three weeks the organisation has carried out 26,320 consultations (including more than 9 362 children under the age of five), 1,014 hospitalisations (including 611 children under five), 126 surgeries and treated 426 war wounded. 

228 expatriates are on the ground working together with 2917 south Sudanese colleagues. In addition, 58 expatriates provide support to the organisation operation in South Sudan in the sub region. More than 40 tons of medical and logistic materials have been sent to the country since December 15.

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