Programmes begin once more in RUF area

The rebels, notorious for the brutal way in which they used to terrorise civilians from this West African country, are now apparently seeking a political agreement with the government in Freetown, although fighting continues in neighbouring Guinea. The situation in the country has been relatively calm since June last year, and now the RUF is opening up its territory to humanitarian organisations. The exploratory mission has shown that the humanitarian situation in the RUF area is not as bad as expected: there is no apparent famine, and the population seems to be less terrorised. The medical needs are however very big. In the areas visited, there are hardly any facilities for basic health care, and people die of even the simplest medical complications. MSF has restarted in Makeni, which is regarded as the capital of the RUF-territory. Last Tuesday, the first day MSF restarted its activities in the hospital, some 400 people came for treatment. On Wednesday another 500 people came to the hospital. MSF is also starting projects in the districts of Port Loko, Bombali and Tonkolili. Hopes are to restart in the district of Kambia once more later this year.