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In El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, the Médecins Sans Frontières- Doctors Without Borders (MSF) supported El Geneina Teaching Hospital, the major referral hospital in the state, has been directly affected by fighting. During a violent intrusion in the past two days, parts of the hospital were looted.
There are news reports from El Geneina of widespread lootings and destruction, burning of property, including the central market and gatherings sites and camps where displaced people are living.
Sylvain Perron, MSF deputy operations manager for Sudan gave the following statement:
"It is utterly unacceptable to see the El Geneina Teaching Hospital and other facilities under attack, looted, running out of staff and supplies. We are deeply concerned about the safety of healthcare staff, and our teams in West Darfur. Many people are trapped in the midst of this deadly violence. They fear risking their safety and lives trying to reach the rare health facilities that are still functional and open.
For years, MSF has been providing medical assistance to all communities in West Darfur, who have been frequently affected by violence and who otherwise have no access to healthcare.
In El Geneina Teaching Hospital, MSF managed the paediatric and nutrition inpatient departments, infection prevention control measures, and water and sanitation services. Over the years we have witnessed a steady stream of patients coming not just from El Geneina city and the nearest camps for displaced families, but from all over the West Darfur state.
The current fighting has forced us to stop almost all of our activities in West Darfur. Our teams had not been able to reach the hospital, nor could they conduct mobile clinic activities in the nomadic communities of Galala, Mogshasha, Wadi Rati and Gelchek. We have been able to continue providing services in Kreinik hospital to date, but we have seen a reduction in the number of patients coming from outside the town.
We are incredibly worried about the impact this violence has on people who have lived through waves of violence in previous years, preventing them from seeking the medical care they desperately need. The humanitarian and medical needs are immense.
Our teams in West Darfur are closely following the situation to ensure that we can safely continue to provide much-needed medical care and humanitarian assistance. We are ready to scale up our response to meet the growing needs. To do so, we need to be able to ensure the safety and security for all our staff and patients.
We demand that all health facilities, including hospitals, clinics, warehouses, and ambulances, and their staff are respected and protected by all parties to the conflict. We reiterate our calls to all parties to the conflict to avoid civilian areas and to spare civilian lives.
We urgently call on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease attacks on medical facilities and ensure that patients can receive the medical care they desperately need.”