February 4, 2017 (MALAKAL) - The medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said the recent surge in fighting in and around South Sudan’s towns of Wau Shilluk and Malakal in Upper Nile, left many of those forced to flee cut off from healthcare.
- View of Wau Shilluk settlement for displaced people on West Bank of White Nile River in October 2016 (MSF photo)
The agency, in a statement issued Friday, urged the warring factions to ensure the right of civilians to access emergency healthcare, clean water and food is guaranteed, and that medical facilities, staff and transport are not targeted.
Most of Wau Shilluk’s 20,500 population, MSF said, fled for the bush on 25 January when opposing forces started an exchange of artillery fire across the River Nile.
According to the agency, the rest of the town’s population evacuated three days later when the main market was hit by mortar fire, also putting its medical facilities at risk.
On 26 January,MSF said in its statement, the warring factions initiated an exchange of artillery fire. One shell, it added, landed dangerously close to the MSF clinic in Malakal town, which is located on the opposite side of the Nile from Wau Shilluk.
“What really concerns us is the inability of the displaced persons to reach emergency healthcare, safe drinking water, food and shelter,” said MSF’s head of mission for South Sudan, Marcus Bachmann, urging both sides to respect the status of medical facilities and ensure that all displaced populations have access to medical care.
The medical charity, however, said it is closely monitoring the situation and evaluating how best it could provide medical support to sick and wounded civilians.
MSF currently maintains medical operations in its hospital in Wau Shilluk, a hospital at Malakal protection of civilians site and a health clinic in Malakal town.