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NZ Red Cross nurses help treat wounded in South Sudan

23 December 2013

Four New Zealand nurses are helping treat those wounded in violent clashes in South Sudan.

All four are seconded to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), two in the capital Juba and two in Malakal in the north of the country.

New Zealand Red Cross international operations and emergencies manager Andrew McKie says all four nurses are safe and the ICRC is assessing the security situation daily.

“Our nurses are under curfew so they go to the hospitals during the day but have to be back in their compounds at night. These are highly capable and experienced individuals who are used to working in combat zones. They are doing an important job helping treat the innocent victims of this conflict.”

Kiwi nurse Felicity Gapes, who is currently working for Norwegian Red Cross and the ICRC, is leading the medical response on the ground.

She says many of the wounded are having difficulty reaching Juba Teaching Hospital and Juba Military Hospital because of the security situation and lack of transportation.

“Staff in both hospitals have been working around the clock, but they are struggling because of the sheer volume of patients and the severity of the injuries.”

Despite the violence, the ICRC and South Sudan Red Cross are carrying on with their work, providing medical supplies and equipment and deploying mobile surgical teams to Juba and Malakal.

The ICRC is calling on all parties to the conflict to protect and spare civilians and meet their obligations under international humanitarian law.

ENDS

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