Unexploded ordnance in Darfur, Sudan

TRANSCRIPT Patrick Nagle, MSF Project Coordinator "Of the 25,000 people who are living in Muhajariya, 8,000 of them are internally displaced - what we call IDPs. Muhajariya has been attacked twice over the last couple of years. The fighting has left unexploded bombs - what we call here unexploded ordnances - these are grenades and shells, they're rockets that have been left. "Last year, one of the MSF staff members in Muhajariya, his name is Suleiman, received word that there had been an explosion in his Village, which is about ten kilometres outside of town. The children in the village had found a hand grenade and they were trying to open it up with a knife, and it exploded. "Seven children were around the grenade when it exploded. This news came to Suleiman very suddenly and came very horrifically. We found out there were several children that were involved; one of them being his son." Suleiman Mohamed Adam "My name is Suleiman Mohamed Adam. While I am working in the MSF office I received one of my relatives. He came on horseback. He said 'Things have happened in your family and your brother's family.' My brother's son, he is a schoolboy about eight years old. He found a hand grenade when he was coming from the school. "When he came to the home, he called the seven together, then he got a knife and he tried to open that kind of hand grenade and it whispered (whistling). After that it start explosion. My brother's son and two of them died immediately. One of my brother's kids, she is four years old, she lost one eye. My son, he is about six years old, he has fragments in his brain and many injuries in his chest." Patrick Nagle, MSF Project Coordinator "His son had severe injuries to his scalp, to his brain and, after several surgeries, you can still see his major deformity on the child's forehead. You can even see the pulsation coming through the wound. "In Muhajariya we've found several of these unexploded ordnances, these bombs, these grenades. They are shells that are launched from mortars. They are rockets that come down, land on the ground and some of them do not explode, so they sit underneath the sand, they remain there until likely that a child will find them going out playing in the neighbourhood." Suleiman Mohamed Adam "Seriously me, myself, I don't know these things. It looked like a small pineapple. I have never seen these things before." Patrick Nagle, MSF Project Coordinator "The MSF field hospital in Muhajariya has 24-hour services. We have an out-patient department that is open during the day. We have an in-patient department that hosts admissions through the night. We have a surgical team that is ready to go into action 24 hours a day as well as a feeding programme and a vaccination programme at our hospital. "On one particular afternoon, we received word that there was an explosion. Some sort of blast. It was a few kids that were underneath a tree. They found something and they started playing with it and this bomb went off. To this day, the mother of three of the kids that died in this explosion doesn't know what caused the blast that killed her children." Mother "I don't know what kind of thing exploded. Of my children, two died immediately on the spot and the third was injured on both legs. They brought him to the clinic but, unfortunately, he spent only two hours. He died as well. Suleiman was the elder one; eight years old. Ismail was six. Ikram, the girl, was four. The other four children that died were my husband's half-brothers. Maltasim, the elder one. Ali, Musa and Anwar. Seven kids from my family died. Two were badly injured and four were OK." Patrick Nagle, MSF Project Coordinator "And the fact that these children had died so suddenly and so horrifically seemed to leave a hope that this one child might make it out of surgery. All the efforts, it seems like all the concentration, was on trying to save this boy. He made it out of surgery. We kept trying to resuscitate him with fluids and about 30 minutes after he was done with surgery, he died. "As soon as we called the time of death, the family, the visitors, the staff - it almost felt like the news that the boy had died went through the air, outside of the clinic, outside of the hospital and into the town. You could feel a shroud of sadness. "The sense of hope that this child might live through his injuries was done. This has affected the team very, very much. The team is very dedicated to the patients that they treat and all the effort and all the hope that went into it was then finished." Mother "I spent four months with really deep sadness about losing my kids. I have nightmares in which I see all my children coming towards me." Patrick Nagle, MSF Project Coordinator "MSF has witnessed seven children from one family dying from one of these unexploded ordnances. We found eight others in Muhajariya. These bombs, these shells, are underneath the sand, very likely for children to find. "I see it as attacks that are waiting underneath people's feet. MSF is working with our 25 outreach workers doing safety awareness, doing health education and to inform the community, inform the leaders, inform the local military that these unexploded ordnances are still here, that there are many of them that have not been found and likely that the children will find them. "So the sooner that the authorities can come out here and remove the ordnances, the more protection we shall find for the people of Muhajariya."