Active fighting has hit the town of Pinga in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo once again, forcing20,000 inhabitants and the majority of Congolese personnel employed by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to flee for the second time in six weeks.
Armed groups have clashed in the last few days, causing widespread panic and alarm in the area. Fearing for their lives, people grabbed whatever they could carry and ran into the surrounding forests. While displaced from their homes and villages, people’s access to healthcare is extremely limited. Some of those wounded in the fighting were brought to the MSF-run hospital 50 km away in Mweso where doctors treated 24 people for violent trauma. 12 more managed to reach the Mpeti health centre 18 km away from Pinga.
“What we see in Pinga is the tip of the iceberg” said Grace Tang, MSF’s Head of Mission. “This kind of violence and mass displacement is happening throughout the province of North Kivu. We’re trying to respond as best we can in very difficult and challenging circumstances.”
A core team of skilled staff remains in Pinga and is attempting to maintain some services to the health centre and hospital in the town, sheltering in the safe room when the violence becomes too intense. Support visits to health centres in the surrounding villages is proving too dangerous at the moment.
The ongoing conflict in eastern Congo continues to cause high levels of violence and displacement and generates incredible humanitarian needs. MSF cares for thousands of people for free every month throughout North Kivu province in numerous hospitals, health centres and health posts in Rutshuru, Masisi, Mweso, Kitchanga, Walikale, Muganga I and Lac Vert camps, Kanyaruchinya and Pinga. There are also a number of Cholera Treatment Centres (CTCs), mobile clinics and emergency response activities.
Find out more about MSF in Democratic Repubic of Congo