MSF provides assistance to victims of new fighting in Burundi

"Last Wednesday, we put up a small emergency dispensary for the displaced people in this camp," explained Véronique Parqué, MSF head of mission in Burundi. "The same evening we saw 200 patients."
Last week, Bujumbura - the capital city of Burundi - and its surroundings has been the scene of renewed fighting between government troops and rebels, with explosions, mortar attacks and sporadic street fighting. The southern periphery - mainly the areas of Musaga, Kanyosha and Kinindo - is particularly affected by the violence and thousands of civilians have fled the area. Many of them found shelter with relatives but many more had no place to go. Some have now sought shelter in two camps where MSF is providing assistance. One of the camps is situated in the southern periphery between Kinindo and Musaga, an area close to the fighting, and hosts some 700 displaced people, mainly women and children. Due to the insecurity, today was the first day that it has been possible for two nurses and a doctor to visit and provide basic medical care. Also today, the distribution of BP5 biscuits (fortified food) and blankets in the camp ended. The other camp, where MSF is providing medical care while other organisations are responsible for water, food and sanitation, is situated in the centre of the city. Some 1,900 displaced families are staying there. "Last Wednesday, we put up a small emergency dispensary for the displaced people in this camp," explained Véronique Parqué, MSF head of mission in Burundi. "The same evening we saw 200 patients. The health post consists of five tents in which we offer medical care. The main health problems of the displaced are diarrhoea, respiratory infections, headaches." Last week, more than 220 war wounded people were hospitalised. MSF is continuing to work in its centre for the treatment of war wounded, which is in the northern suburb of Bujumbura. There were 28 admissions during the first day of the new fighting alone. Of these, 20 were transferred to the city hospitals - although transporting patients to the hospitals is problematic due to insecurity and fighting. Currently there are some 46 wounded people in the MSF centre. "It is difficult to give an exact number of casualties thus far but it seems to be rather high," continued Véronique Parqué. "Due to the huge insecurity in the city, it is even impossible to take the corpses off the streets. Luckily it's the dry season, because this decreases the risk of certain epidemics, such as cholera."