GENEVA, Switzerland, July 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new eruption of intercommunal violence in Jonglei, South Sudan, has resulted in hundreds of severe casualties. To help medical personnel cope with the influx, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sent a surgical team to Bor Hospital, where 176 wounded people have been admitted including 34 who have already undergone surgery.
“The humanitarian situation remains a source of acute concern for the ICRC,” said Melker Mabeck, head of the ICRC delegation in Juba. “The lack of roads and other infrastructure in the area makes it difficult, especially during the rainy season, to reach the wounded.”
The ICRC team, comprised of a surgeon, two nurses and an anaesthesiologist, has been working hand in hand with Médecins Sans Frontières personnel since arriving at Bor Hospital on 14 July. The South Sudan Red Cross has provided support by administering first aid to the wounded and the sick before their referral to hospitals.
“Health-care personnel carry out their work in a neutral and impartial manner. That means that they do not take sides, and that they provide care on the basis of need alone,” said Mr Mabeck. “They must be left to do their jobs in safety.”
The ICRC also plans to provide medical care south of the town of Pibor. Furthermore, it is examining how to scale up its activities in the area. “In places where the South Sudanese Ministry of Health has staff on the ground, the ICRC will coordinate its actions with them,” said Mr Mabeck. “The ICRC will do its utmost to reach people in need of treatment and provide it for them.”
Since the beginning of the year, the ICRC has treated over 150 wounded patients throughout the country. ICRC surgical teams have been sent to Nasir, in Upper Nile state, and to Pibor, Bor and twice to Walgak, in Jonglei state. In addition to performing emergency surgery at the scene of the fighting, an ICRC medical team based in the Malakal Teaching Hospital provides paediatric and physiotherapy services along with trauma and emergency surgical care. Over 320 surgical emergencies have been handled at the hospital since the beginning of the year.