Photo: Residents of Gumuruk village in Jonglei State return to their homes after spending a month fleeing violence in the bush. South Sudan 2012 © Robin Meldrum/MSF
South Sudan: Displacement and Destruction of Health Facilities in Jonglei State
Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state has had a devastating impact on tens of thousands of people, with many forcibly displaced and further cut off from health care due to the destruction of medical facilities.
While Jonglei state has a long history of intercommunal cattle-raiding, thousands of civilians, including women, and children as young as four months old, have been caught up in violent attacks since 2009, which usually occur during the dry season. A disarmament campaign begun in mid-2012 led to widespread insecurity and was accompanied by abuses against civilians. Further fighting in Jonglei between a militia group and South Sudan’s armed forces has compounded the violence, causing new displacements at the height of malaria season. Health care is threatened as medical facilities are targeted and destroyed.
“Patients arriving in MSF clinics seeking treatment for injuries describe how they have been forced to make devastating decisions about which children to flee with and which children to leave behind,” said Chris Lockyear, MSF operational manager. “What we are seeing is an emergency; the lives and health of Jonglei’s population are hanging by a thread. The dry season is now upon us, making movement around the area possible again, and we fear a further spike in violence, injury, and displacement.”