After four weeks of forced absence, a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team has been able to return to Muhajariya in South Darfur, Sudan, where an estimated 35,000 people have been affected by heavy fighting. In mid-January, clashes between two rival rebel groups forced MSF to evacuate most of its medical team to Nyala, the regional capital, an estimated 80 kilometres away. During the first days of fighting the MSF base was completely destroyed by fire. The MSF clinic was untouched and has remained functional. MSF holds the respective rebel groups responsible for damage to MSF’s goods and premises, during the time those groups were in control of the town. MSF has begun re-establishing full medical services. By the second day the team was back, the number of outpatients had already doubled. The international humanitarian organization plans to bring in more staff and to restore MSF clinics in the nearby areas of Labado and Um Shegeira. MSF’s country director in Sudan, Reshma Adatia, currently in Muhajariya, says, “On arrival the newly installed Government of Sudan authorities in town welcomed the restart of our medical activities. We aim to have our services soon back to the same level as before we were forced to evacuate.” In MSF’s absence people living in Muhajariya and its immediate surroundings have been directly affected by the violence. They were left without sufficient and urgently needed medical assistance and nutritional support. A small team of Sudanese MSF staff remained in Muhajariya and continued to provide basic services. “It looks like more than half of the town has emptied. We do not exactly know where the people are, but we will try to follow up and assist where needed. It seems people fled rapidly into the harsh environment, with little or no time to assemble and carry provisions. We fear they urgently need assistance,” adds Adatia Further north, MSF teams have seen an influx of newly displaced people. These people arrived at a camp around Al Fasher where MSF supports other organizations, giving medical assistance to the approximately 5,300 newly displaced people. Further south of Al Fashir, teams have distributed initial kits with basic non-food items to the roughly 1,000 people who had to leave behind all their belongings. As people continue to arrive in the region, MSF plans to continue distributions and to increase the provision of medical care. Since July 2004, MSF has provided medical assistance in and around Muhajariya. In 2008 MSF provided more than 54,000 consultations in our inpatient and outpatient services, almost 6,500 women received maternity care and 300 babies have been delivered. The MSF nutrition program treated more than 1,000 children. In addition the team conducts mobile clinics in the nearby areas of Labado and Um Shegeira. Around Al Fasher, North Darfur, MSF provides medical care to about 33,000 displaced people in the Shangil and Shadat camps and to surrounding villages.

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