South Sudan: No News From Malakal – The Malakal Teaching Hospital was attacked by armed men in February. Upon their return to the hospital, teams from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) discovered eleven bodies. Some patients had been shot.
In December 2013, violence broke out in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The conflict soon spread through the world’s youngest country, taking on a sectarian tone that echoed the ethnic divisions that preceded independence from Sudan in 2011. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been working in South Sudan for more than two decades. The organization had a number of teams already on the ground when the crisis erupted last December, and has been working to meet the needs of those affected by the conflict.
In 2011, the newly independent Republic of South Sudan formally came into existence, following more than 20 years of civil war between separatist forces and the government of Sudan in Khartoum. But amid the celebrations that surrounded the creation of Africa’s newest country were causes for concern. South Sudan has been beset by a number of severe humanitarian challenges since the day it became an independent nation state. Disease, malnutrition and displacement remain rife in the country, while the health system is extremely weak and under-resourced. Moreover, many parts of South Sudan continue to experience high levels of violence, a legacy of divisions that date to before the end of the civil war.
On December 15, 2013, that violence took on a new and urgent dimension, as clashes between rival groups in the presidential guard began in Juba, South Sudan’s capital city. These clashes soon spread and took on a distinctly sectarian tone. The ensuing conflict has led to the destruction of medical and other civilian structures, and the displacement of more than a million people inside South Sudan, with an additional 300,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The conflict has rendered most of the existing health facilities in the country non-functional, leaving most people with no access to healthcare.
Once the fighting began, MSF increased its capacity to rapidly respond to emergency medical needs in the country. MSF teams are now running more than 22 medical and non-medical programs, as well as outreach activities in nine of South Sudan’s 10 states, providing basic healthcare, nutritional support, surgeries and vaccinations, as well as clean water to people who have fled their homes.
For the latest updates on the crisis in South Sudan and MSF’s response to it, please follow the links below:
- Press Release: Child malnutrition rates are skyrocketing in South Sudan
- Photo Story: Treating Gatluok, a severely malnourished child in Leer, South Sudan
- Video: No news from those attacked in Malakal, South Sudan
- South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia: Situation requires special mobilization
- MSF rapidly scales up response to cholera outbreak in South Sudan