Sudan: Tens of thousands displaced following days of fighting in the Abyei area

Abyei, 4 March 2011- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is currently responding to the consequences of fighting in various locations north of the disputed border district of Abyei, in Sudan. The latest outbreak of violence began on 27th February, some 20 kilometres north of Abyei town. Since yesterday, tens of thousands of people have fled the town, leaving it mostly empty. MSF’s priority is to be able to reach and treat all patients.

The MSF hospital in Agok, 40 kilometres south of Abyei, received 21 wounded patients during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 3rd March. All patients had sustained gunshot wounds, and three required surgery. All have now been stabilised. The MSF team in Abyei also made a donation of drugs and equipment to the Ministry of Health hospital in Abyei in support of their efforts to treat wounded patients.

MSF is particularly concerned for the wounded seeking medical care in the north of the Abyei area, some of whom have been evacuated to Muglad hospital. MSF is currently in discussion with authorities to provide assistance to the people most in need in this area.

“MSF is an independent and neutral medical organisation and reiterates its objective to reach all patients and provide them care in complete impartiality” says Bruno Jochum, director of operations. “It is imperative that medical assistance can be provided to all affected by the latest surge in violence.”

Although the situation remains relatively calm today, the team reports that tensions remain high in Abyei town and surrounding areas. MSF mobile teams from Agok and Abyei are conducting assessments in the Abyei area in order to respond to the medical needs of the population displaced as a result of the fighting.MSF staff in Agok are also on standby to respond to a further influx of wounded if fighting continues.