South Sudan: Thousands of Civilians Flee for Their LivesDoctors Without Borders
3 January 2012
(…) Renewed intercommunal violence in Jonglei State, South Sudan, has forced thousands of families to flee into the bush, where they have no access to assistance, including medical care.
Two healthcare facilities operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were targeted in attacks in Jonglei, leaving much-needed medical activities temporarily suspended in Pibor County.
“Thousands of people in Lekongole and Pibor fled in the last week and are now hiding in the bush, frightened for their lives,” said Parthesarathy Rajendran, MSF head of mission in South Sudan. “They fled in haste and have no food or water, some of them doubtless with wounds. Now they are hiding on their own, beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance.”
The village of Lekongole was razed to the ground and an MSF team that assessed the situation in Pibor on December 28 described it as a ghost town. Virtually everyone fled into the surrounding countryside. While people are hidden in the bush, they cannot be reached, meaning they cannot have wounds cleaned and dressed, be treated for diseases, or access general healthcare.
During the violence, two of MSF’s medical facilities were looted and damaged: the clinic in the village of Lekongole on December 27 and the small hospital in the town of Pibor on December 31. A third MSF clinic in the nearby village of Gumuruk has apparently not been affected. The three medical facilities are the only healthcare options for the 160,000 people in Pibor County. The nearest alternative medical facility is more than 62 miles (100 kilometers) away.
MSF condemned the targeting of neutral and impartial medical facilities. (…)
(…) These most recent attacks follow the August 2011 looting and burning of MSF medical facilities in Pieri, further north in Jonglei State. MSF subsequently treated 157 wounded people, mostly women and children. (…)
See full press release.