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South Sudan: ‘Shocking’ Scenes at Malakal Hospital

South Sudan: UN Humanitarian Official Describes ‘Shocking’ Scenes at Malakal Hospital

New York, Feb 27 2014 - The top United Nations humanitarian official in South Sudan described as “shocking” what he saw during a visit to a teaching hospital in the town of Malakal, where he encountered nothing but dead bodies.

“Last week it was a functioning centre to treat the sick; now it’s an empty, silent shell,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator Toby Lanzer tweeted after visiting the hospital with a delegation that included representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), adding “nothing left except dead bodies.”

Malakal itself looked and felt deserted, added Mr. Lanzer, who also serves as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan.

The visit, which follows the latest attack on the Upper Nile state capital, was aimed at assessing the situation of people displaced by the violence that has plagued the world’s youngest nation in recent months.

“It is sad and indescribable to witness that kind of situation and it is also sad to see a town which was alive and busy deserted and turned to a ghost town,” Mr. Lanzer stated.

In addition to the hospital, the delegation visited Christ the King Church, where more than 800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) sought refuge before being transferred to the compound in Malakal of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which is protecting some 22,000 civilians.

More than 50,000 other people are seeking refuge at UN bases throughout the country after violence flared up in mid-December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and former deputy president Riek Machar.

Today, Mr. Lanzer visited the town of Bor in Jonglei state, where he said there were four mass graves and the business district had been completely destroyed. With a few civilians on the streets and some civil servants working, there were signs of some trade activity, he noted.

Mr. Lanzer added that an estimated 1,200 people were leaving Jonglei every day for Minkaman, Awerial County in Lakes state.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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