South Sudan: MSF compound looted, medical teams treating wounded amid fighting in Pibor

An MSF medical compound has been looted amid fighting that broke out on the afternoon of Tuesday, 23 February in Pibor, South Sudan, which has left at least 35 wounded and approximately 1,000 people seeking shelter at the UNMISS base. Fighting broke out in Pibor in the early afternoon on 23 February and has continued throughout the day today. Yesterday afternoon, the MSF team was forced to seek safety in the MSF compound but as heavy gunfire approached the facility, the team was forced to move to the UNMISS compound.

MSF staff brought medical equipment and supplies with them and they have been supporting the provision of medical treatment to the wounded. As of 1:00 p.m. today, MSF was supporting treatment for 35 patients but there is a lack of surgical capacity to provide the level of treatment that is urgently required. Fighting is ongoing in the area and MSF has witnessed a number of homes that have been destroyed in the violence. MSF has not been able to assess the extent of the damage to its compound. 

"There are critical emergency medical needs right now in Pibor, and really limited capacity to respond and save lives," says Corinne Benazech , MSF Head of Mission. "We need to assess the damage and looting of the MSF health centre, but if we cannot restart activities this could make a bad situation catastrophic, since MSF provides the only healthcare in the area. We reiterate the call that all armed actors must respect international humanitarian law, which protects civilians, medical facilities and the provision of humanitarian assistance."