MSF speaks on violent clashes in southern Sudan

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Thursday said an upsurge of violence has led to displacement, injury and death of civilians in the Upper Nile and Jonglei provinces of southern Sudan.
It said clashes between armed groups and direct attacks on villages have occurred in the regions north and south of the river Sobat since the beginning of April.
The deteriorating security situation also forced MSF to evacuate a number of its international teams from the area, the NGO said in a statement.
On 10 April armed militia attacked the village of Ulang, where MSF operates a clinic, leaving most of the patients and villagers, along with MSF's staff, fled in search of safety.
Thirty-one people were reported killed and dozens injured, while 15 were treated in the MSF hospital in the nearby town of Nasir.
Subsequent outbreaks and threats of violence forced MSF international staff to evacuate from Nasir as well, and from clinics in Wudier, Lankien and Pieri.
In Pieri, most of the patients in the MSF clinic, among them 120 patients being treated for tuberculosis (TB), were forced to flee.
Medical equipment, drugs and food for the patients were looted, leaving the clinic effectively destroyed.
"We are concerned about the growing number of violent incidents," says MSF co-ordinator Cristoph Hippchen.
"This means humanitarian assistance to the people of Upper Nile and Jonglei, already far below what is needed, will be even less now.
" MSF is one of the very few providers of health care in Upper Nile and Jonglei, an area where malaria, TB and the deadly tropical disease kala-azar are rampant.
MSF works in six locations in the Upper Nile region with 50 international and 400 Sudanese staff.
In 2005 MSF conducted more than 294,000 medical consultations, of which over 40 percent were done with children younger than five.
In southern Sudan MSF runs 19 hospitals and clinics, providing primary and secondary health care, and has extensive programs to treat people with TB, malaria and kala-azar.

25 may 2006 10:51:00




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