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June 03, 2016

Following an outbreak of yellow fever in Angola this past December and the subsequent confirmation of dozens of cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are providing support in both countries to help contain the spread of the disease.

MSF calls for health groups to get more involved

Zoe grew up and was educated in London and has worked both in the UK and abroad for a number of humanitarian organisations including Oxfam, Interact, and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). She is a water and sanitation expert with significant field experience in Rwanda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Angola. In 2005, Zoe worked in Uige, Angola following an outbreak of deadly Marburg disease, which is a haemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola.

The international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces the pervasive and systematic use of rape and violence committed by the Angolan army during the expulsions of Congolese migrants working in diamond mines in the Angolan province of Lunda Norte. MSF teams arrived in Western Kasai — a Congolese province bordering Angola — in October 2007 and are providing care there to victims of sexual violence. They have also collected 100 testimonies exposing collective rape and physical abuse widely perpetrated by the Angolan military.

Since May 26, more than 30,000 Congolese expelled from Angola have crossed the border at Kahungula, Bandundu province, in the southwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In response to an alert sounded by the Congolese authorities, MSF went to the area to provide healthcare and to assess the situation of the expelled people. MSF offered medical assistance to the 600 to 700 Congolese being expelled daily and collected their testimonies.

Following a directive from the government of Sri Lanka earlier this week, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) withdrew its staff today from Kilinochchi town in the LTTE-controlled Vanni. MSF is very concerned about the possible consequences of ongoing hostilities for the population still living in the area, and the impact of displacement on the health of the population. MSF urges both parties to the conflict to ensure that all possible measures are taken to protect civilians from the impact of the conflict, and to allow assistance to resume as soon as possible.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is very concerned for the safety of an estimated 250,000 people trapped in heavy fighting in the Vanni district of Sri Lanka. Hundreds of civilians are reported to have been wounded and killed during the last days as the area controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has shrunk in the face of the government of Sri Lanka’s military offensive. MSF has received reports from the Vanni area that the plight of the civilians is dire. Hospitals are coping to the best of their ability, but are running low on drugs and medical staff.

On Jan. 29, 226 sick and wounded civilians, 51 of them children, were evacuated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN from the Vanni district of Sri Lanka. Delays at the government checkpoint in Omanthai meant that patients were arriving throughout the evening and night and into the very early morning in Vavuniya Hospital. Some were newly wounded during the recent fighting, while others were suffering from festering wounds up to two or three weeks old.  In the fighting many patients lost limbs due to shrapnel and shells.

Wounded, shocked and distressed. After having fled heavy fighting in the Vanni area of Sri Lanka, people arriving in Vavuniya hospital need both medical care and counselling. Working with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), mental health worker Karen Stewart hears their stories and shares them here. People arrive here in a state of extreme anxiety and fear. They have been separated from their families and often have no news about their fate. Young children and the elderly travelling with their caretakers claim they were separated at a checkpoint.

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