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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid