As fighting continued in Monrovia on Tuesday May 10, staff and patients in the last remaining civilian hospital in Monrovia have been forced to leave. The 130-bed Redemption Hospital found itself virtually on the frontline in the violent war that is raging in the city. Before the hospital was abandoned, it was filled to capacity, including many patients being treated for war wounds.
Alain Kassa, Head of Mission for MSF's three-person medical team in Monrovia, described the city's deteriorating situation:
"We tried to reach the hospital but we were stopped just 100m away by a general. We had just managed to evacuate one patient with cerebral malaria who was left on the street. Other staff were working with patients in the street as well.
"In the city, there are thousands and thousands of people walking around looking for a place to stay for the night because it is the rainy season. All the buildings, all the schools, churches, all official buildings are completely full and overcrowded and. I don't know where they will find a place to sleep in Monrovia. Already we have more than one million displaced people in this town - with no water, with no food, and of course with no protection.
"We already have six cases of measles in the Clara Town clinic, and we are very afraid of the cholera situation. Cholera is endemic, but there is a shortage of water trucking and supplies. The organisation in charge of the water supply for Monrovia left the country because they had been looted. Of course they cannot work now anymore. There are just two water trucks in the EU compound but they are not functional because the international staff have left the country.
"We went to the stadium this morning. I don't know how many people are there because some of them leave in the morning and come back at night because they are looking for food. Yesterday, the government distributed some, but it was not enough. They gave one bag of rice - 50 kg - per seven families. This is not much but it's a first step, we hope.
"Sanitation is a big problem, though. The latrines inside the stadium are completely destroyed and outside there are no facilities. And water is also a problem because there is no functioning water supply system. We will try to truck water tomorrow from a nearby river.
"For the moment, the stadium is the safest place for these people. But of course there is no food and a lot of problems. When we start to help people in one place, the next day they have moved to another.
"What is needed right now is protection, shelter, food, water and health services. Some people are already moving in the direction of Kakata, north of the capital, looking for more protection. There are already 40,000 displaced people in camps there. The situation is a little bit better there but it is still a problem because you have to find them shelter.
"And people are still people being wounded in the fighting. JFK hospital surgical ward is functioning with the ICRC. Now it is the only one working in town, and they can only treat wounded patients. Without Redemption, the rest of the people have no more health care facilities in town."
Only one surgical ward in the city remains functioning. Other hopsitals, now engulfed by fighting on the front line, have been abandoned. Without Redemption Hospital, which was abandoned on June 10, the rest of the people in the city have no more health care facilities.