MSF, Doctors Without Borders, South Africa, social unrest
South Africa

The impact of the social unrest on people


Social unrest in South Africa

The social unrest took place in July 2021. Our Emergency Response Coordinator, Vinayak Bhardwaj answers three questions about the situation on the ground.

Over 270 people were reported killed in riots and looting that also disrupted access to crucial healthcare services, food, fuel and other essentials in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

After a week of unrest people still feel the effects of the violence with many vulnerable communities – particularly informal settlements – reporting difficulties in accessing food and health care. Despite calm returning, health facilities are still struggling due to increased caseloads.

“Around 250 families lost their homes and belongings in fires that gutted the corrugated iron informal settlement during the week of the unrest. Mothers and young children were forced to sleep in the open, and the community had difficulty accessing food,” Adeline Oliver, MSF emergency nurse explained.

Our MSF teams launched an emergency response to provide emergency support to communities and health facilities affected by the violence.