Escalating fighting in South Sudan is exposing civilans to widespread violence and severely restricting the provision of desperately needed aid, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.
An upsurge of violence in Unity, Jonglei and Upper Nile states has resulted in the suspension of medical services, destruction of health structures and evacuation of medical staff.
“The escalation has left people in conflict areas exposed to violence and without much needed medical care and humanitarian assistance,” said Paul Critchley, MSF head of mission in South Sudan. “All parties to the conflict must respect civilians and health care structures in order to prevent even more unnecessary suffering.”
In Upper Nile state, MSF is providing life-saving medical assistance to people wounded in fierce fighting in Melut, despite no longer being able to fly in medical supplies and personnel. Ongoing insecurity is preventing planes from landing and has forced hundreds of people to seek shelter at the United Nations “Protection of Civilians” site in the last few days. MSF’s ability to provide care to those in desperate need is now at risk unless the safe passage of staff and supplies is guaranteed.
In Malakal, MSF is also treating people wounded in recent fighting, although clashes prevented the provision of medical assistance last week to approximately 30,000 people living in the “Protection of Civilians” site there, which has seen a huge influx in new arrivals. The highly volatile situation continues to prevent teams from being able to enter Malakal town itself, where much of the fighting took place.