Guinea: MSF emergency response in Conakry and Gueckedou

Since Saturday, Feb 10, a new wave of violence has broken out in Guinea. Approximately 20 people were killed in two days of rioting over the weekend in Conakry and other towns. Today, new fighting was reported in Conakry and Gueckedou.

Before the weekend, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) set up an emergency plan to reinforce the medical capacity of the Matam health centre (Conakry) in which the organisation runs a HIV/AIDS program. Two additional tents had been set up in the court to face a influx of wounded.

"The day started with almost no fighting and people were taking advantage of the calmer situation to take care of basics, like buying food and gasoline," said Sergio Martin, MSF Head of Mission in Guinea. "But then shooting started again and, by midday, 30 people with gunshot wounds arrived in the Matam health center. During the weekend we received other 30.

"Our main goal here is to stabilise patients and refer them immediately to Donka hospital where they can have access to x-rays and a better equipped surgical ward."

Many people have been wounded by bullets, but others have been stepped on by the frightened crowd.

"Is not the first time that we have to set up an emergency preparedness plan in Conakry. In fact, we already did it less than one month ago, when the situation deteriorated as a consequence of another general and unlimited strike," said Martin.

At that time two surgical kits for 150 wounded, four dressing modules for 200 wounded and four burn modules for 160 people were sent to increase the response capacity in Matam. The MSF team has been reinforced with five additional medical staff.

"We are now receiving alarming news from our team in Gueckedou, where new demonstrations are reported. Five wounded arrived at the local hospital where we are supporting the Guinean staff with the triage of patients," said Martin.

With the national airport closed, it is now very difficult to send humanitarian staff and aid to Guinea.