MSF shelter in 'saferoom' during recent fighting
With the recent outbreak of fighting between Rwandan and Ugandan military forces in Kisangani, DRC, MSF has had to halt all activities in the region and the six MSF expats stationed in the city have taken shelter in a 'saferoom'. The civilian population of Kisangani has been forced to seek shelter from the fighting wherever possible.
Despite the numerous declared cease fires, continuous fighting has
taken place between Ugandan and Rwandan troops in Kisangani in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, since 5 June. The MSF expat teams
there have taken shelter in a specially prepared room which has been
designed to provide maximum safety to its occupants.
Kisangani is a civilian-populated city and weapons used in the fighting have ranged from small arms fire to heavier artillery.
The broken cease fire has made it impossible for the MSF staff to leave
the saferoom to continue their ongoing nutrition programs or to
provide emergency assistance. However they are all safe and well.
When the fighting first started, MSF expats and national staff alike
took refuge in their homes. The six expats, who were in several
locations when the fighting began, have taken refuge together in the
On June 5, MSF staff left the shelter during a short lull in the
fighting, in order to retrieve an MSF vehicle in a nearby feeding
center. En route they saw five dead civilians. The
danger of leaving shelter has prevented further exploration or
Currently, there is no electricity in Kisangani. The service was
interrupted when fighting broke out. MSF has two generators to provide
limited power. This possibility is not available to the
population of Kisangani (500,000) which is also without water when there is no electricity.
This makes the potential for an epidemic of water borne
MSF has planes on stand by in Goma for an evacuation. However it is
impossible to access the staff as long as active fighting continues.
There is regular contact with the teams.
The ICRC is also waiting for the opportunity to land a plane in
Kisangani and MSF may have the opportunity to make use of that
transport. There are a variety of channels available to contact the
teams to ensure that all parties are aware of developments.
The shelter is a specially reinforced room measuring approximately
2mx3m. Its construction used recommendations by the ICRC for secure
locations during active fighting.