Medair relocates staff from Malakal as heavy fighting continues in South Sudan
24 February 2014. Medair withdrew its staff from Malakal yesterday amid escalating unrest within the town.
Heavy fighting in and around the northern South Sudanese town broke out on 18 February, with cross-community clashes also occurring in the UN base sheltering close to 25,000 people.
“Terrible things are happening in Malakal,” said Willem van Amerongen, Medair’s Deputy Country Director who was one of the staff to be relocated. “We’ve seen a lot of wounded people, and many are experiencing great sorrow because of losing loved ones and their homes. It has been reported that the town is completely destroyed.”
Medair has had a base in Malakal since 2008 helping displaced and conflict-affected communities with non-food items. Since early February the organisation’s health, nutrition and WASH emergency response team has been supporting assessments and providing WASH services in one community north of Malakal town. But as hostilities worsen, the team, who were taking shelter in a UN compound, were unable to safely continue their work. The movement of staff and supplies became increasingly difficult.
“We are deeply concerned for the needs of people caught up in the conflict,” said Caroline Boyd, Medair’s Country Director. “Despite temporarily suspending our work in the town, Medair’s emergency response team will continue to assess the situation and return to continue our work. We remain committed to helping wherever we can in South Sudan.”
In Renk town, Medair is continuing to provide emergency health, nutrition, and WASH services to displaced communities, the host population and to those who remain stranded after returning to the country from Sudan. In Yusuf Batil Camp in Maban County, health and nutrition services are being provided by Medair to Sudanese refugees, as well as clean water and sanitation facilities.
According to the UN, there are currently more than 716,000 people internally displaced within the country since fighting broke out on 16 December last year.
South Sudan became an independent nation on 9 July 2011. Medair has been present in the region since 1991 and has been providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene to those most in need. Our overall goal is to increase access to health care and nutrition and provide emergency relief services.
For media: For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Abigail Woodcock, Press Relations Officer (English) Abigail.Woodcock@medair.org, +41 (0)78 635 30 95
For more information on Medair’s South Sudan programme, visit medair.org/south-sudan
Medair’s South Sudan programme is supported by the E.C Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, the United States Agency for International Development, Common Humanitarian Fund, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and private donors. Figures are taken from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair’s most recent situation report, dated 20 February 2014.
Medair helps people who are suffering in remote and devastated communities around the world survive crises, recover with dignity, and develop skills to build a better future.