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August 17, 2015

In Tumaco, Nariño Department, Colombia, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has responded to an increase in Chikungunya, a viral disease that causes fever and severe joint pain and is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes.

July 09, 2015

Displacements, restrictions on mobility and lack of access to basic goods and services such as healthcare: These are the main consequences of the escalation of the conflict in southwestern Colombia, which is causing a growing humanitarian crisis.

By Simon Midgley. Uraba Project, Colombia

After months of work and negotiations with armed groups, MSF has managed to access the Bajo Atrato region in Choco, Colombia. During the week of November 5, an MSF mobile clinic visited several communities isolated by the conflict along the river corridor of Truando, south of Riosucio, the municipal capital. The team offered vaccinations for hundreds of children under five and medical attention for the general population.

“Many people leave for Florencia yet if even then they feel threatened, they flee to Bogotá or further away”, says Serge Le Duc, MSF coordinator who has just returned from Caquetá, Colombia.

“People sometimes look for someone to listen to them and other times to help them make a decision” - Interview with Dr. Alessandro Huber, MSF psychiatrist, who has worked for two years in Caquetá, Colombia

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.

The rate of sexual violence in Colombia is alarming. A recent study carried out by the international humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reveals that 35% of their mobile clinic patients and 22% of patients in their fixed clinics have suffered an episode of sexual violence at least once in their lives. A victim of sexual violence needs comprehensive health services including medical and psychological care.

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.

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