Security - Hundreds of civilians have been injured as a result of the fighting in and around Malakal, the second largest town in South Sudan, between the government and rebel forces.
A press release by the Swiss-based Medicins Sans Frontiere (MSF) said its doctors and those of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have treated at least 150 wounded people after a new wave of violence hit the town of Malakal, in the Upper Nile state, South Sudan, on 18 February.
“They suffered gunshot wounds from the clashes in town as well as injuries as a result of inter-communal fighting in the camp,” the release specified.
“MSF fears that the escalating levels of violence are threatening the security of the population even in the place where most of the displaced people are currently seeking refuge -- the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) compound -- which hosts over 21,000 people,” according to the press statement, obtained by PANA here Thursday.
“Some of the displaced people reported cases of the killing and rape of patients and relatives in the only functional hospital in town. This facility, where MSF had been working until 17 February, has also been looted. MSF fears that more violence will have devastating consequences on the population,” according to the release.
“The high levels of violence have disrupted the humanitarian activities launched in Malakal to respond to the crisis,” Llanos Ortiz, MSF deputy emergency desk manager, was quoted as saying. “The reigning insecurity is having a direct impact on the lives of the South Sudanese people and is also an obstacle for them to receive impartial medical humanitarian assistance.”
Since the onset of the crisis last December, fighting throughout the country is having serious consequences for the population, stricken not only by violence but also by a pre-existing alarming humanitarian situation.
“There are episodes of violence in several areas of the country but South Sudan also suffers peaks of diseases such as measles and malaria. We are worried about the upcoming rainy season and the risk of outbreaks in a context where medical services have been widely disrupted,” warns Ortiz. “This paints a grim picture for a vulnerable population with a scarcity of resources.