News / Africa

    Hospitals, Patients Attacked in South Sudan, MSF Says

    • An infant scale lies broken amid patient records and medical supplies at Leer Hospital in Unity state, South Sudan. Doctors Without Borders says the hospital was vandalized something between the end of January and early February.
    • A vandalized operating table stands in Leer Hospital's surgical theater amid ransacked medical supplies.
    • An aerial shot taken over Leer in Unity state, South Sudan, shows many tukuls burnt to the ground.
    • MSF personnel found medical supplies strewn around Leer Hospital when they returned to assess damages. The hospital opened 25 years ago and served 300,000 people in South Sudan's Unity state.
    • A burnt, damaged operating table at Leer Hospital in Unity state.
    • A girl is treated for burns in the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic set up at the camp for displaced people in the grounds of the United Nations Mission to South Sudan (UNMISS) base in Juba, South Sudan, on January 12, 2014.
    Hospital Looted in South Sudan
    Mugume Davis Rwakaringi
    Medical care in South Sudan has come under heavy fire since fighting broke out in December, with patients shot in hospital beds, wards burned to the ground, medical equipment looted, even an entire hospital destroyed, international medical group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Wednesday.

    “What we have seen in the last weeks is that MSF facilities, MSF staff and the patients, of course, have experienced unacceptable attacks, looting and intimidation, and we consider today that medical care is under fire in South Sudan,” Raphael Gorgeu, MSF head of mission in the young country, told reporters.

    Gorgeu recounted how MSF personnel found a grisly scene when they returned to a hospital in Malakal, which they had evacuated when fighting resumed in the capital of Upper Nile state last week.

    "On February 22, we went back inside the town in Malakal and our team discovered in Malakal Teaching Hospital at least 14 dead bodies scattered among 50 to 75 patients who remained in this facility, too weak or elderly to flee for safety," Gorgeu said.

    "Several of these patients showed signs they had been shot dead while lying in their beds. Many of the hospital wards, including the therapeutic feeding center for malnourished children, had been burned, and general looting has clearly taken place," he said.

    Hospital in Leer 'no longer exists'

    A hospital in Leer County in Unity state, which has provided health care for 300,000 people in the area since it opened 25 years ago and treated thousands of children for malnutrition, was ransacked and destroyed, Sarah Maynard, MSF project coordinator for Leer, said.

    "That hospital no longer exists," Maynard told the news conference in Juba.

    "The operating theaters are destroyed. The emergency room is gutted by fire. The tents where we stored therapeutic food for malnourished children is also destroyed. Drugs have been completely looted,” she said.

    Some 240 local MSF staff who worked at Leer Hospital "remain hidden in the bush, struggling to treat patients with rapidly dwindling supplies," MSF said on its website. 

    "The staff report they are reusing wound dressings and trying desperately to assist the displaced who have grown more ill from drinking dirty river water and from eating water lilies for lack of food," the medical aid group said. 

    Gorgeu said that resuming work in Leer will "not only require significant investment of resources, but it will depend upon on unconditional respect from all parties for our medical facilities, staff and patients, not only in southern Unity State but everywhere in the country.”

    MSF reported on its website that patients were killed in their beds in a hospital in Bor during fighting in December; MSF staff were forced to flee a hospital in Bentiu, capital of Unity state, as fighting raged there last month, and the medical aid group suspended operations in Malakal after armed men threatened and robbed staff.

    A spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), Philip Aguer, said the army had anything to do with the attacks on the health facilities.

    “The SPLA forces have been respecting the humanitarian agencies. We have not looted any compounds," he said. 

    The anti-government forces did not immediately respond to VOA's requests for comment but spokesman Lul Ruai Koang has denied in the past that opposition fighters have attacked health facilities or targeted civilians.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora