An international medical charity operating in South Sudan has raised the alarm that hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese are currently denied life saving assistance because of the inter-tribal and government-rebel fighting in the country.
Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) said in a statement Wednesday that entire towns in South Sudan have suffered devastating attacks, and that medical care has also come under fire, with patients shot in their beds, wards burned to the ground, medical equipment looted, and, in one case, an entire hospital destroyed.
MSF said its staff witnessed the gruesome aftermath of recent armed attacks and clashes in Malakal in Upper Nile State, discovering patients murdered inside the town’s Teaching Hospital.
The statement said in another disturbing violation of medical structures since conflict erupted in mid-December 2013, an MSF team returned to Leer, in Unity State, and discovered the hospital thoroughly looted, burned and vandalised. Vast parts of the town appear to have been razed to the ground.
“Assaults on medical facilities and patients are part of a broader backdrop of brutal attacks on towns, markets and public facilities,” Raphael Gorgeu, MSF head of mission, was quoted as saying.
“These attacks show a complete lack of respect for medical care and deprive the most vulnerable of life-saving assistance just when they need it most,” Gorgeu said.