MSF has treated 850 people wounded in Mogadishu fighting since January

Between January 2008 and April 2008, the independent medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has treated more than 850 victims of conflict in Mogadishu, a majority of whom are civilians, at Dayniile hospital, located nine kilometers outside the capital. Among the 850 people, 455 were admitted for gunshots wounds and 231 for blast wounds consistent with explosive devices. "In April 2008 alone, we treated over 160 war-wounded people, 65 percent of whom were women and children," said Dr. Greg Elder, MSF Head of Mission in Somalia. "On April 19 and 20 alone, our medical staff treated 53 victims suffering from war-related wounds." Conflict in Somalia has escalated in recent weeks, with military operations carried out by armed groups increasing in densely-populated urban areas in and around Mogadishu. Access to medical and surgical treatment, along with aid to civilians and displaced people, is reduced to alarmingly low levels. There are only three hospitals functioning, few medical personnel are still present, and scant humanitarian assistance is being provided in Mogadishu. Since its opening in late September 2007, over 2,000 patients have been treated at the Dayniile emergency facility. The MSF surgical teams have performed close to 270 operations. Within the 35-bed hospital, MSF operates an emergency room, an intensive care unit, and a surgical department equipped with two operating rooms. Recently, MSF set up two tents within the compound to accommodate additional patients. MSF also provides water to four internally displaced camps in the area distributing a total of 280, 000 liters of water a day to an estimated population of 22,000. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has worked in southern and central Somalia for more than 16 years and is currently providing medical care in ten regions in the country: Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Galgadud, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Mudug, Middle Shabelle, and Lower Shabelle. Following the brutal killings of three MSF aid workers on January 28 in the southern city of Kismayo, MSF had suspended its international staff presence in the country. Programs continued to be run thanks to the dedication of MSF Somali staff members. At the end of March, MSF decided to return limited international staff to selected locations where security risks were assessed. The humanitarian needs for Somalia remain very acute.