LOS ANGELES/LONDON—International Medical Corps is providing lifesaving medical care in response to an outbreak of violence in the Protection of Civilian (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan that left at least 18 people dead and forced some 26,000 ethnic Nuer and Shilluk and 4,000 Dinka people to flee their shelters. No International Medical Corps staff were harmed, but its primary health clinics, operating theater, post-operative rooms, and facilities for nutrition and gender-based violence services were all damaged in the fighting and medical supplies were looted.
“Our staff are doing whatever they can to save lives in the wake of this tragedy,” says Golam Azam, International Medical Corps’ Country Director in South Sudan. “However, medical supplies—particularly those for critical care and surgeries—are urgently needed, while the damage to our primary health care clinics, operating theater, and post-operative care room has made it more difficult to deliver the health care services to people in need.”
International Medical Corps’ surgeon and health care team have been treating the injured, including prescreening severely injured patients who require urgent medical evacuation, as the necessary medical supplies are now not available in the Malakal PoC. They also assisted in the delivery of four babies in the past 24 hours.
International Medical Corps is the only humanitarian organization providing general surgery capability in the Malakal PoC and its team will remain in Malakal to ensure essential medical care services are available. They are also working to resume nutrition, gender-based violence, psychological first aid, and reproductive health services. In addition, the team is standing by to deploy a mobile medical unit to assist families who fled the fighting if necessary supplies are available and security allows.
Before the recent fighting began, more than 47,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) lived in the PoC, seeking safety from civil war. On its third year, South Sudan’s civil war has displaced more than 2.3 million people, including 1.7 million IDPs, while nearly 25 percent of the population faces acute food and nutrition insecurity.
International Medical Corps started working in Malakal in December 2013 and has been providing services in curative and preventative primary health care, surgery, nutrition, obstetric and gynecologic surgery, sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and mental health and psychosocial support. Mobile medical units have also been delivering much-needed health care to isolated villages around Malakal. International Medical Corps has been working in South Sudan since 1994 and is delivering essential health and other services to nearly 485,000 people across 12 sites in six states.
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