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South Sudan: Health care for hundreds of wounded civilians

24-12-2013 Operational Update

Since the first armed clashes broke out in Juba on 15 December, tens of thousands of civilians have fled in search of safety. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the South Sudan Red Cross are helping those caught up in the fighting.

"We’re dealing with a rapidly evolving and highly volatile situation,” said Melker Mabeck, ICRC head of delegation in Juba. “Reports of targeted killings of civilians are alarming. We call upon all parties to spare civilians in all circumstances." The ICRC and the South Sudan Red Cross are carrying on with their humanitarian work and caring for the wounded on all sides, but there are concerns about the capacity of medical facilities to cope with the influx of the wounded.

From the very beginning of the crisis, the ICRC has been supporting the main hospitals in Juba. The organization has provided wound-dressing kits, medicines and other medical supplies to treat at least 500 people. It has also delivered 25,000 litres of clean water to one of Juba’s main hospitals and has set up three tents to increase space for patient wards.

The ICRC has focused its efforts on boosting the capacity of local hospitals to treat wounded patients:

• A surgical team is now based in one of Juba’s main hospitals, performing round-the-clock surgeries.

• South Sudan Red Cross volunteers are administering first aid, dressing wounds and providing general assistance (such as moving patients and cleaning) in two of Juba’s main hospitals.

• The medical team based in Malakal is operating on weapon-wounded patients following fighting in the city.

• Another team is supporting the local hospital in Bentiu, working particularly with the local surgeon to treat the influx of people wounded in the fighting in the surrounding area. The ICRC has also delivered medicines and other general and specialized medical supplies to treat up to 250 weapon-wounded patients in Bentiu.

• The ICRC is assembling another full team, who will be sent to South Sudan as soon as possible, along with several tonnes of medical supplies and equipment.

The ICRC currently has teams working in Juba, as well as in Bentiu, Wau and Malakal. The organization is exploring all possible options for responding to humanitarian needs in this extremely challenging environment.

ENDS

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