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Medical Staff And Supplies Needed to Aid Malakal

Medical Staff And Supplies Needed to Aid Wounded in Malakal, South Sudan -- UN

New York, Dec 2 2006 9:00PM

Medical staff and supplies are urgently needed to step-up treatment to those wounded by the fighting in Malakal, South Sudan, where several hundred soldiers and civilians were injured during two days of fighting late last month, the United Nations reported today.

Following a formal pause in the recent fighting Friday afternoon and retreat by armed forces to positions on opposite sides of the city, a UN team of health experts visited a Malakal hospital to determine its capacity to provide ongoing treatment to those shot or beaten during the fighting. Priorities include nurses, surgical supplies and three-months worth of first-aid kits.

"Treating the wounded continues to be our first priority in responding to the victims of the hostilities in Malakal," said David Gressly, Deputy Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, who traveled to the area with a team of experts and supplies to support the assistance effort there.

Of particular concern is the population's access to clean water in a city where cholera outbreaks are common. The UN has reported that civilians are drawing drinking water from the Nile River because some of the town water pumps have broken down. Though UN peacekeepers have provided critical support to the Malakal government to dispose of the dead, the Nile remains contaminated by bodies as a result of the fighting.

"Getting people access to potable water is critical because of the lack of town water supplies and the risk of cholera," said Meredith Preston, resident coordinator in Malakal, who said that the UN and its partners responded to 165 cases of cholera in the area since October.

A formal agreement was reached by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to disengage from fighting and retreat to positions held before the conflict began. During the calm that followed, many residents who remained in Malakal, including women and children, c
city.

The 21-year civil war in South Sudan ended when a peace agreement was struck in January, 2005. That war was separate from the continuing strife in the Darfur region where more than 2 million people are estimated to have been uprooted, including 218,000 who have fled into Chad.


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