Posts tagged violence

Photo by Remi Djian/MSF
Anyone who hides Muslims from the anti-balaka militia is at risk in Carnot, Central African Republic (CAR). On February 7, an anti-Balaka group entered a house where 86 displaced Muslim men, women, and children were being hidden. Seven men were executed and three people were struck with a machete, including a 12-year-old child. After nearly two hours of very tense negotiations, MSF was able to gather the wounded and those requiring immediate medical care. Read more: http://bit.ly/1czCb5W

Photo by Remi Djian/MSF

Anyone who hides Muslims from the anti-balaka militia is at risk in Carnot, Central African Republic (CAR). On February 7, an anti-Balaka group entered a house where 86 displaced Muslim men, women, and children were being hidden. Seven men were executed and three people were struck with a machete, including a 12-year-old child. After nearly two hours of very tense negotiations, MSF was able to gather the wounded and those requiring immediate medical care. Read more: http://bit.ly/1czCb5W

Photo by Remi Djian
Displaced children take shelter in a church in Carnot, Central African Republic (CAR). Nearly 1,000 people, most of them Muslim, have been trapped, surrounded, and threatened by armed militias since Feb. 1 in this area of southwestern CAR. Read more: http://bit.ly/1czCb5W

Photo by Remi Djian

Displaced children take shelter in a church in Carnot, Central African Republic (CAR). Nearly 1,000 people, most of them Muslim, have been trapped, surrounded, and threatened by armed militias since Feb. 1 in this area of southwestern CAR. Read more: http://bit.ly/1czCb5W

Photo by William Daniels
MSF medical staff prepare an injured man to be moved across town from a camp to a hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic. Due to fighting between two main armed groups, many people in Bangui have been affected by extreme violence. Read more: http://bit.ly/1nqaSzY

Photo by William Daniels

MSF medical staff prepare an injured man to be moved across town from a camp to a hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic. Due to fighting between two main armed groups, many people in Bangui have been affected by extreme violence. Read more: http://bit.ly/1nqaSzY

Photo by William Daniels
   MSF medical staff treat a man who was hit by an arrow at Mpoko airport camp in Bangui, Central African Republic. Around 100,000 people displaced by violence are sheltering at the camp. MSF has provided medical care to about 1,000 people so far.  Read more: http://bit.ly/1nqaSzY

Photo by William Daniels

MSF medical staff treat a man who was hit by an arrow at Mpoko airport camp in Bangui, Central African Republic. Around 100,000 people displaced by violence are sheltering at the camp. MSF has provided medical care to about 1,000 people so far.  Read more: http://bit.ly/1nqaSzY

I saw people injure each other with bush knives, I saw mothers beating their children, I saw limbs being cut off, I saw extreme emotional suffering, I saw people die. But I also experienced the warmth and love that the local people generously share every day, despite all the violence, paradoxically to it.
Photo: The number of people seen with injuries caused by the security forces, falling from the fence, or fleeing from the police has increased. Morocco 2012 © Anna Surinyach
Morocco: Sharp Increase in Violence Against Migrants
Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are suffering a sharp increase in violence at the hands of security forces in Morocco and at border areas, resulting in serious health problems.
“Since April last year we have seen people with broken arms, legs, hands, and jaws as well as broken teeth and concussions, amongst other injuries,” said David Cantero, MSF head of mission in Morocco. “The injuries documented by MSF are consistent with migrant accounts of attacks by security forces.”

Photo: The number of people seen with injuries caused by the security forces, falling from the fence, or fleeing from the police has increased. Morocco 2012 © Anna Surinyach

Morocco: Sharp Increase in Violence Against Migrants

Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are suffering a sharp increase in violence at the hands of security forces in Morocco and at border areas, resulting in serious health problems.

“Since April last year we have seen people with broken arms, legs, hands, and jaws as well as broken teeth and concussions, amongst other injuries,” said David Cantero, MSF head of mission in Morocco. “The injuries documented by MSF are consistent with migrant accounts of attacks by security forces.”

Photo: An MSF staff member tends to a patient in northern Mali. Mali 2013 © Gonzalo Wancha/Filmalia.
Fear and Need Still Pervasive in Northern Mali
Despite some appearances of relative calm in Mali in recent weeks, the emergency is not yet over for the vast majority of the population in the country’s northern reaches. MSF has been supporting medical facilities in two of three regions in northern Mali since April 2012 to ensure access to free medical care for the vulnerable, but ongoing insecurity is still limiting the teams’ ability to carry out activities in rural areas. Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees continue to cross the border into Mauritania every day.
“Due to the insecurity,” says Rosa Crestani, MSF emergency program coordinator, “we cannot assess the needs of those living outside the urban areas in which we are working.” “We fear that some patients remain trapped at home,” she continues. “It is difficult for these people to access food, and the risk of malnutrition is significant. The people must not be the target of violence and must be able to safely access the vital medical and humanitarian aid they need.”

Photo: An MSF staff member tends to a patient in northern Mali. Mali 2013 © Gonzalo Wancha/Filmalia.

Fear and Need Still Pervasive in Northern Mali

Despite some appearances of relative calm in Mali in recent weeks, the emergency is not yet over for the vast majority of the population in the country’s northern reaches. MSF has been supporting medical facilities in two of three regions in northern Mali since April 2012 to ensure access to free medical care for the vulnerable, but ongoing insecurity is still limiting the teams’ ability to carry out activities in rural areas. Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees continue to cross the border into Mauritania every day.

“Due to the insecurity,” says Rosa Crestani, MSF emergency program coordinator, “we cannot assess the needs of those living outside the urban areas in which we are working.” “We fear that some patients remain trapped at home,” she continues. “It is difficult for these people to access food, and the risk of malnutrition is significant. The people must not be the target of violence and must be able to safely access the vital medical and humanitarian aid they need.”

Photo: A boy emerges from his home outside the town of Kitchanga in North Kivu Province. DRC 2009 © Michael Goldfarb
Thousands Flee as Violence Continues in Kitchanga, North Kivu
Arson and fighting that began last week is still ongoing in the town of Kitchanga in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s North Kivu Province. Thousands of the town’s inhabitants—mostly women, children, and the elderly—have fled in fear, taking only their few belongings and their cattle. People who are unable to flee are seeking refuge in makeshift camps.
“The situation in the region is extremely volatile and dire as tension between communities escalates, with more shooting taking place this week in Kitchanga,” says Hugues Robert, head of mission for MSF in North Kivu Province.

Photo: A boy emerges from his home outside the town of Kitchanga in North Kivu Province. DRC 2009 © Michael Goldfarb

Thousands Flee as Violence Continues in Kitchanga, North Kivu

Arson and fighting that began last week is still ongoing in the town of Kitchanga in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s North Kivu Province. Thousands of the town’s inhabitants—mostly women, children, and the elderly—have fled in fear, taking only their few belongings and their cattle. People who are unable to flee are seeking refuge in makeshift camps.

“The situation in the region is extremely volatile and dire as tension between communities escalates, with more shooting taking place this week in Kitchanga,” says Hugues Robert, head of mission for MSF in North Kivu Province.

Aid must not be hijacked as a political too
MSF is deeply concerned by the British Prime Minister’s statement yesterday, proposing to use more DFID funding to stabilise conflict-affected states to further national security interests. Aid must not be hijacked as a political tool, Mr Cameron.

Aid must not be hijacked as a political too

MSF is deeply concerned by the British Prime Minister’s statement yesterday, proposing to use more DFID funding to stabilise conflict-affected states to further national security interests. Aid must not be hijacked as a political tool, Mr Cameron.

Treating Those Caught In Mali’s Armed Conflict

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have remained in northern Mali throughout the recent crisis in order provide medical care to the local population. MSF has treated 35 wounded patients in Timbuktu over the past few weeks and is running programs in Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso to assist those fleeing the conflict.

Photo: MSF medical staff treats a patient after an airstrike in Azaz city. Syria 2013/MSF
Syria: Airstrike on Market Kills and Injures Scores
At least 20 people were killed and 99 injured when warplanes bombed a market in the northern Syrian city of Azaz on January 13, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. Twenty of the wounded, all civilians, were treated in an MSF medical facility.
The attack in Azaz, a city near the border with Turkey, was particularly devastating. It followed earlier airstrikes that hit health facilities in the city, making it almost impossible for local medical staff to cope with the scale of the latest emergency. The injured were transported to medical facilities elsewhere in the region, including to an MSF field hospital in the Aleppo area.
“The cars and ambulances kept on coming and patients flooded the hospital,” said Adriana Ferracin, an MSF nurse in Syria. “We received many patients with limb amputations, head injuries, and bleeding eyes and ears.”
“Even after the airstrikes on medical facilities in the Aleppo region, local doctors and nurses remained committed to providing medical care, and they are doing their best to help the population,” said Shinjiro Murata, MSF head of mission in Syria.
MSF’s field hospital in the Aleppo region—one of three run by MSF in Syria—provides emergency, obstetric, and primary health care, focusing on pregnant women, children, and the most vulnerable.
Violence is hitting an already vulnerable population with limited access to medical care and food. Escalating prices of essential supplies, such as bread, wood, and clothing are further worsening the population’s living conditions. As in Azaz, many people prefer to seek medical care in clandestine structures for fear that hospitals will be targeted in airstrikes.

Photo: MSF medical staff treats a patient after an airstrike in Azaz city. Syria 2013/MSF

Syria: Airstrike on Market Kills and Injures Scores

At least 20 people were killed and 99 injured when warplanes bombed a market in the northern Syrian city of Azaz on January 13, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today. Twenty of the wounded, all civilians, were treated in an MSF medical facility.

The attack in Azaz, a city near the border with Turkey, was particularly devastating. It followed earlier airstrikes that hit health facilities in the city, making it almost impossible for local medical staff to cope with the scale of the latest emergency. The injured were transported to medical facilities elsewhere in the region, including to an MSF field hospital in the Aleppo area.

“The cars and ambulances kept on coming and patients flooded the hospital,” said Adriana Ferracin, an MSF nurse in Syria. “We received many patients with limb amputations, head injuries, and bleeding eyes and ears.”

“Even after the airstrikes on medical facilities in the Aleppo region, local doctors and nurses remained committed to providing medical care, and they are doing their best to help the population,” said Shinjiro Murata, MSF head of mission in Syria.

MSF’s field hospital in the Aleppo region—one of three run by MSF in Syria—provides emergency, obstetric, and primary health care, focusing on pregnant women, children, and the most vulnerable.

Violence is hitting an already vulnerable population with limited access to medical care and food. Escalating prices of essential supplies, such as bread, wood, and clothing are further worsening the population’s living conditions. As in Azaz, many people prefer to seek medical care in clandestine structures for fear that hospitals will be targeted in airstrikes.

We would like to highlight the humanitarian situation in this remote territory, and to see more aid organizations coming or returning as the needs are high and the situation is unlikely to calm down in the near future. Masisi territory has nearly as many people as the city of Goma and the humanitarian needs there are at least as significant. However, there are many fewer organizations working there. After the last few weeks’ fighting, the MSF teams find themselves alone. The violence in Masisi is receiving less media attention, but it is just as critical.
MSF program manager, Amaury Grégoire, calls upon the international aid community for help in DRC.

MSF has supported the General Hospital in Masisi since 2007 and provides free primary and secondary care there. Between January and September 2012, MSF hospitalized more than 5,800 patients, performed 1,320 surgeries and admitted 462 malnourished children and 653 pregnant women. 
Photo: From just outside the main entrance of Masisi hospital the view stretches over the mountainous and sometimes conflict-wracked landscape of North Kivu. DRC 2011 © Yasuyoshi Chiba/Duckrabbit
Violence In DRC Wracks Masisi Too
While people living in Goma and sheltering in nearby camps continue to live in fear of new clashes between an armed group called the M23 and loyalist forces, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is witnessing increased violence in Masisi, some 80 kilometers (48 miles) to the northwest. In this isolated area of North Kivu, the medical emergency organization is providing support to the region’s primary hospital.
The violence, the fiercest since 2007, has forced tens of thousands of people to flee and has sharply restricted access to medical care around Masisi. MSF program manager Amaury Grégoire provides an update:
What is the current situation in the Masisi region?
We are very concerned by the sharp upturn in violence. The number of wounded that our surgical team has treated more than tripled in three months. Nearly one out of every five operations today involves people with gun or knife wounds. We have not seen this level of violence in since we arrived in Masisi in 2007.
What explains this upsurge in violence?
There are many armed groups in the region and the slightest disputes are resolved by violence. People are threatened and attacked every day at home, in the fields and on the road. These attacks are often motivated by money, but we are seeing increasing numbers of purely gratuitous attacks and ethnically-motivated assaults. They are perpetrated by armed groups but also by civilians who belong to other communities.
Who are the primary victims?
The wounded patients admitted to the hospital include armed men, of course, because the region was the scene of considerable fighting over the last few weeks. But we are also seeing a growing number of civilians, including women and children. In some cases, the violence has reached horrifying levels. On November 4, the village of Shoa, which is located a few kilometers from the town of Masisi, was attacked. Seven people who died from machete wounds were brought to us at the hospital. The victims included two pregnant women and a baby. Later, on November 29, following a series of attacks in the village of Kihuma the MSF teams treated 32 wounded patients, 8 of whom were suffering from violent trauma. This unprecedented violence left seven people dead that day.Is MSF also seeing an increase in rapes?
In Masisi, our teams usually treat between 40 and 70 rape victims every month. In November, our teams treated 20 victims of sexual violence. We fear that this reduction is not a good sign. Unfortunately, violence towards women has not dropped all of a sudden. Insecurity and rising ethnic tensions create obstacles for people who need to come to the hospital or a health center. People are afraid and remain at home, often risking their life.
What is the direct impact of this new situation on people’s lives?
There are nearly 40,000 displaced persons around the two villages of Rubaya and Kibabi alone. These families are living in extremely precarious conditions and an outbreak of cholera made their situation even more desperate. In addition, people are afraid to go to health centers. With the exception of emergency visits, where we see a sharp increase in the number of victims of violence, admissions to the Masisi hospital have dropped considerably. We know the need is there but people are afraid to leave home. For example, there are many at-risk pregnancies in the region. In this area we have found that between five and 15 women out of 100 require an emergency Cesarean section. In the last few weeks, many fewer of those women have come in. In November, half of the beds were empty, while normally, most of our beds are occupied. It’s very worrisome. These women have no other alternatives and will be forced to give birth alone, without help. We know that some of them will not survive.

Photo: From just outside the main entrance of Masisi hospital the view stretches over the mountainous and sometimes conflict-wracked landscape of North Kivu. DRC 2011 © Yasuyoshi Chiba/Duckrabbit

Violence In DRC Wracks Masisi Too

While people living in Goma and sheltering in nearby camps continue to live in fear of new clashes between an armed group called the M23 and loyalist forces, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is witnessing increased violence in Masisi, some 80 kilometers (48 miles) to the northwest. In this isolated area of North Kivu, the medical emergency organization is providing support to the region’s primary hospital.

The violence, the fiercest since 2007, has forced tens of thousands of people to flee and has sharply restricted access to medical care around Masisi. MSF program manager Amaury Grégoire provides an update:

What is the current situation in the Masisi region?

We are very concerned by the sharp upturn in violence. The number of wounded that our surgical team has treated more than tripled in three months. Nearly one out of every five operations today involves people with gun or knife wounds. We have not seen this level of violence in since we arrived in Masisi in 2007.

What explains this upsurge in violence?

There are many armed groups in the region and the slightest disputes are resolved by violence. People are threatened and attacked every day at home, in the fields and on the road. These attacks are often motivated by money, but we are seeing increasing numbers of purely gratuitous attacks and ethnically-motivated assaults. They are perpetrated by armed groups but also by civilians who belong to other communities.

Who are the primary victims?

The wounded patients admitted to the hospital include armed men, of course, because the region was the scene of considerable fighting over the last few weeks. But we are also seeing a growing number of civilians, including women and children. In some cases, the violence has reached horrifying levels. On November 4, the village of Shoa, which is located a few kilometers from the town of Masisi, was attacked. Seven people who died from machete wounds were brought to us at the hospital. The victims included two pregnant women and a baby. Later, on November 29, following a series of attacks in the village of Kihuma the MSF teams treated 32 wounded patients, 8 of whom were suffering from violent trauma. This unprecedented violence left seven people dead that day.
Is MSF also seeing an increase in rapes?

In Masisi, our teams usually treat between 40 and 70 rape victims every month. In November, our teams treated 20 victims of sexual violence. We fear that this reduction is not a good sign. Unfortunately, violence towards women has not dropped all of a sudden. Insecurity and rising ethnic tensions create obstacles for people who need to come to the hospital or a health center. People are afraid and remain at home, often risking their life.

What is the direct impact of this new situation on people’s lives?

There are nearly 40,000 displaced persons around the two villages of Rubaya and Kibabi alone. These families are living in extremely precarious conditions and an outbreak of cholera made their situation even more desperate. In addition, people are afraid to go to health centers. With the exception of emergency visits, where we see a sharp increase in the number of victims of violence, admissions to the Masisi hospital have dropped considerably. We know the need is there but people are afraid to leave home. For example, there are many at-risk pregnancies in the region. In this area we have found that between five and 15 women out of 100 require an emergency Cesarean section. In the last few weeks, many fewer of those women have come in. In November, half of the beds were empty, while normally, most of our beds are occupied. It’s very worrisome. These women have no other alternatives and will be forced to give birth alone, without help. We know that some of them will not survive.

Photo: Young mothers and their newborns at the Maternity service of the MSF-supported hospital in Batangafo. CAR 2012 © Chloé Cébron
As Violence Surges Anew in CAR, Families Again Flee Into The Bush
On December 20, the rebel coalition known as “Seleka, which has attacked several locations in the north of Central African Republic (CAR) in recent days, entered the town of Batangafo, where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been supporting the main hospital.
The previous day, after the rebels announced their intention to move towards Bouca, through the town of Batangafo, FACA—the Central African military forces—the gendarmerie, and all public authorities fled the town. Numerous civilians, scared by the threat of an attack, also left Batangafo to seek refuge into the bush. The rebels entered and took the town 24 hours later.
MSF maintains its team on the ground and is continuing its activities at the hospital, though the number of consultations dropped from 193 the day before the rebels’ advances to 38 on the day after they entered the town.
Testimonies collected by MSF’s team in Batangafo a few hours before rebels entered the town illustrate the fear pervasive among a population that has already endured more than 10 years of armed conflicts. Fleeing into the bush has become almost routine at this point, though it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier or less fraught. “I am very worried by the situation, said a 55-year-old woman named Ghislaine. “Yesterday the kids at school fled in the bush when they heard that armed troops were arriving in town. We did not know where they were. We are so scared.”
According to Enoch Nodl-ya, an MSF anesthetist nurse at Batangafo hospital, “for the last ten years the population has endured the regular presence and attacks from armed men in this region. People are scared and flee rapidly into the bush. As a consequence, many women give birth in the fields without any assistance and most sick or wounded are hesitant to receive medical assistance, scared of possible violence in the populated areas. When the violence stops, we often see patients coming in an advance stage of their diseases.”

Photo: Young mothers and their newborns at the Maternity service of the MSF-supported hospital in Batangafo. CAR 2012 © Chloé Cébron

As Violence Surges Anew in CAR, Families Again Flee Into The Bush

On December 20, the rebel coalition known as “Seleka, which has attacked several locations in the north of Central African Republic (CAR) in recent days, entered the town of Batangafo, where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been supporting the main hospital.

The previous day, after the rebels announced their intention to move towards Bouca, through the town of Batangafo, FACA—the Central African military forces—the gendarmerie, and all public authorities fled the town. Numerous civilians, scared by the threat of an attack, also left Batangafo to seek refuge into the bush. The rebels entered and took the town 24 hours later.

MSF maintains its team on the ground and is continuing its activities at the hospital, though the number of consultations dropped from 193 the day before the rebels’ advances to 38 on the day after they entered the town.

Testimonies collected by MSF’s team in Batangafo a few hours before rebels entered the town illustrate the fear pervasive among a population that has already endured more than 10 years of armed conflicts. Fleeing into the bush has become almost routine at this point, though it certainly hasn’t gotten any easier or less fraught. “I am very worried by the situation, said a 55-year-old woman named Ghislaine. “Yesterday the kids at school fled in the bush when they heard that armed troops were arriving in town. We did not know where they were. We are so scared.”

According to Enoch Nodl-ya, an MSF anesthetist nurse at Batangafo hospital, “for the last ten years the population has endured the regular presence and attacks from armed men in this region. People are scared and flee rapidly into the bush. As a consequence, many women give birth in the fields without any assistance and most sick or wounded are hesitant to receive medical assistance, scared of possible violence in the populated areas. When the violence stops, we often see patients coming in an advance stage of their diseases.”

Photos: DRC 2012 © Aurelie Baumel/MSF

Displaced Again: People Take Shelter in Camps After Fighting in Goma

People in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were thrown into yet another terrifying humanitarian crisis when a rebel group known as M23 marched on the city of Goma in North Kivu Province in mid November. In the fighting that ensued, hundreds were injured and thousands of civilians fled. Though M23 has ostensibly withdrawn from Goma, more than 100,000 people are still living in precarious conditions around the city.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which was already running several health care projects in the area, rapidly established additional emergency services, treating war-injured patients and assisting displaced people. MSF is now active in six camps, where teams are providing primary health care, screening and treating malnourished children and people suffering from cholera and other communicable diseases, vaccinating against measles, and offering support to survivors of sexual violence.