News / Africa

    Violence in South Sudan Town Shuts Down Hospital

    An MSF doctor examines a baby in Pibor town in South Sudan's Jonglei state in this 2012 file photo.
    An MSF doctor examines a baby in Pibor town in South Sudan's Jonglei state in this 2012 file photo.
    Jill Craig
    The humanitarian situation in a rural area of eastern South Sudan appears to be worsening after a hosptial run by an international medical group was heavily damaged in violence last week.

    Residents are fleeing Pibor town, which is in Jonglei state, near the border with Ethiopia, and some NGOs are evacuating staff from the area.

    The local hospital, which was run by the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), has suspended its operations.

    Speaking from Brussels, the MSF coordinator of Operations for South Sudan Richard Veerman said that stepped-up tensions caused the group to begin evacuating staff three weeks ago.

    “We’ve been able to have a look the day before yesterday and found out that not only are we missing our food stocks and beds, but more worrying has been the deliberate attempt to make our facility inoperable,” he said.

    “Electric cables were cut, drugs were smashed on the floor and stamped, offices were [damaged], air conditioning of our pharmacy was ripped off the wall and stomped on the floor… so this makes it very difficult for us to get back to operations."

    Now that the hospital is inoperable, Veerman said his biggest concern is the health and safety of residents, who already had a tough time obtaining medical services before this latest incident.

    “Normally,” he said, “we talk about a population of roughly 100,000 who have no access to healthcare. We were the only place that was providing healthcare in the larger area around Pibor. These people have no access to healthcare at the moment.”

    The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in Juba on Tuesday that it is concerned about reports of incidents carried out by what it calls “allegedly defected and ill-disciplined members of security forces.” It’s also concerned about statements coming from David Yau Yau’s militia telling civilians to leave Pibor and Kapoeta, in Eastern Equatoria state.

    Ding Akol, the minister of local government in Jonglei state, was serving as the acting governor when the hospital was looted. He said the government is investigating who is behind the violence.

    “You know what happened in Pibor is that there was a rumor circulating among the civil population in Pibor town that Yau Yau is going to attack Pibor. So he created a commotion in town, so the civilians, most of them left the town, fearing that the town will be attacked by the Yau Yau,” he said. “And in that, some few elements from the other organized forces – police, prison, they left. And they are the ones we suspect broke into the MSF compound.”

    PLAN International is a children’s rights NGO that works in the area. Its South Sudan country director, Gyan Adhikari, said they are concerned about the security situation in Pibor, especially in light of the looting of the MSF hospital, and has been withdrawing its non-essential staff from the area over the last few days.

    He said he doesn’t know when they will be able to return.

    “It depends upon the government’s actions, you know. How far, how fast the government takes action and returns the peace, the security over there,” he said. “So we can go as soon as possible because we are ready. I can’t predict the date but I am hoping two to three weeks’ time, it will get better. But that’s my prediction. It might work, it might not work.”

    A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated on Thursday that the UN Mission in South Sudan has a “full-time” presence in Pibor and that UNMISS peacekeepers have clear instructions to assist in protecting the civilian population there.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora