September 30, 2012 (JUBA) - The lives of up to 90,000 people remain at risk in South Sudan’s Jonglei state, after escalating violence forced the international medical humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to suspend medical services in two of its three of facilities in Pibor county.
The decision, MSF said in a statement, follows worsening insecurity concerns in the remote area, which in recent weeks has been a scene of violent clashes between South Sudan army and rebel militias fighting the southern government.
The clashes, according to the organization, have forced the populations of Lekwongole and Gumuruk, including all MSF staff and their families, to flee their homes to seek refuge in the bush.
MSF has reportedly also evacuated all international staff from Pibor county, but the organization’s local staff, despite the hardships, continues to provide medical care at its facility in Pibor town.
"We are at the peak of the malaria season and in the midst of the heaviest flooding seen in this area in recent years,” said Stefano Zannini, MSF Head of Mission.
"People have to walk for hours to access medical care in Pibor town as the MSF health center is now the only medical facility providing free and quality medical care in the county. We fear we will have to suspend all our services due to security concerns," he added.
Zannini, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, also expressed concerns about the fate of more than 160,000 residents in Pibor, who are said to be in dire need of healthcare services.
"Our priority is to be able to safely continue to provide urgently-needed healthcare to the people of Pibor County," said MSF Head of office.
MSF will remain fully committed to providing medical care to all people in Pibor County and we are ready to recommence full medical services as soon as the security situation allows, he added.