Home | News    Sunday 2 February 2014

MSF staff, patients forced to flee amid security fears in Unity state


February 1, 2014 (JUBA) - Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said ongoing insecurity had forced 240 of its local staff in South Sudan’s Unity state to abandon its medical facility on Friday and flee into the bush along with dozens of patients.

JPEG - 34 kb
Ongoing insecurity has forced Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to suspend its operations in Unity state’s Leer town (Photo: Kim Clausen/MSF)

In a statement released on Friday, the medical charity said staff had taken several dozen of the most severely ill patients from Leer Hospital with them into the bush, while other patients who were well enough to leave on their own also fled.

MSF said it remained “extremely worried” about the safety and well-being of both staff and patients in Leer.

There are now no longer any patients or staff remaining at the hospital, where MSF has worked for the past 25 years.

MSF was one of the last remaining humanitarian organisations still working in Unity state after violence engulfed Sudan following clashes between rival tribal factions of the presidential guard in mid-December.

The agency said Leer Hospital was the only fully functioning hospital in southern Unity state and its closure means more than 270,000 people will be without access to healthcare services.

In early January, MSF staff in Bentiu were forced to relocate to Leer town due to the deteriorating security situation, with the agency warning at the time that thousands of people in the capital would be deprived of healthcare as a result.

The decision came after the Bentiu medical facility was looted as rebels aligned with former vice-president Riek Machar withdrew from the town after government forces retook the town, which changed hands several times during the conflict.

MSF head of mission Raphael Gorgeu said local staff had managed to keep the Leer medical facility running as long as possible despite “incredibly challenging circumstances”.

“However in the past three days, the situation became too unstable and the only way to provide medical care was to take patients out of the hospital and to flee with the population into the bush”, she said.

On 21 January, MSF evacuated 12 international staff members, although many locally-hired staff chose to remain in Leer and continue providing medical care.

Gorgeu said local medical teams had shown “tremendous dedication” in continuing to care for patients with only basic medical supplies and equipment at great personal risk.

“In the last six weeks in South Sudan, our staff have worked in extreme conditions – we’ve been forced to evacuate multiple times, our facilities have been looted and our teams have operated in areas of active conflict,” she said.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes in southern Unity State since the conflict began, including more than 10,000 displaced from the fighting in Bentiu who had fled to Leer only to be displaced for a second time.

Gorgeu said many of those displaced were without access to adequate food, clean water or shelter and remained vulnerable to disease outbreaks and malnutrition.

With dwindling medical supplies and the hospital’s closure, she said the humanitarian situation in Leer was likely to become even more dire.

Gorgeu said MSF’s Leer facility has provided outpatient and inpatient care for children and adults, surgery, maternity, HIV/TB treatment, and intensive care services. She said the agency was ready to return to Leer once the security situation allows.

In the first five weeks of the crisis, MSF has carried out 71,973 consultations, including 27, 688 for children under 5 in the first five weeks of the crisis.

It is continuing to provide medical and humanitarian services to refugees from South Sudan in Kenya and Uganda, and will soon begin operations for refugees in Ethiopia


Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 2 February 2014 05:54, by Majongdit

    MSF = Machar Secret Force

    repondre message

    • 2 February 2014 17:44, by OurLand

      Where are these serious allegations based on Majongdit? You must have proof, please share it.
      MSF is a near-saint organisation. Their doctors work for a low salary in poor circumstances and provide medical services even in the smallest locations. They have saved thousands of lives by provides vaccination and treatment against cholera.
      What is wrong with you? Your Nuer hate blinded you for reality

      repondre message

  • 3 February 2014 09:43, by Konkooc

    stupid looters,destructors and food loving nuer will not rulle South Sudan till Jesus come.
    Coward nuer may win a battle but not a War.

    repondre message

Comment on this article


The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

52nd Anniversary of the glorious October 21, 1964 Sudanese revolution 2016-10-21 12:43:46 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman Friday the 21st October 2016 will mark the 52nd Anniversary of the Glorious Sudanese October 21, 1964 Revolution. On that date, my memories go far back to the unique (...)

Chemical Weapons Use in Darfur: The World walks away 2016-10-18 22:12:17 By Eric Reeves Despite overwhelming evidence of Khartoum’s use of chemical weapons in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur (western Sudan), the international community seems to be quietly walking (...)

Resources grabbing in the Nile Basin 2016-10-17 22:57:47 MISUSE, MISMANAGEMENT AND MISINVESTMENTS By Mohamed S. M. Yassin Ting Fa Margherita Chang Luca Iseppi Abstract. Historically the Nile constituted the major source of life for million of (...)


Latest Press Releases

Amnesty urges to investigate chemical weapons Sudan’s Jebel Marra 2016-10-12 12:52:01 Sudan: International chemical weapons investigation urgently needed into horrific Jebel Marra attacksAMNESTY INTERNATIONAL NEWSFLASH 11 October 2016 Sudan: International chemical weapons (...)

UNAMID JSR’s statement read to the media on peace in Darfur 2016-10-10 20:57:56 African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur Though the region of Darfur is relatively peaceful at this time, a small portion of Jebel Marra within Darfur continues to be intermittently (...)

Sudan: No justice for protester killings 2016-09-23 08:03:30 (Nairobi, September 22, 2016) – Sudanese authorities have yet to provide justice to victims of a violent crackdown on anti-austerity protesters in Khartoum in September 2013, the African Centre (...)


Copyright © 2003-2016 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.