In the Western and Central Equatorial States, MSF is assisting the tens of thousands of Congolese who fled their homes to seek refuge. Ugandan rebels also carried out attacks on a number of villages in Southern Sudan, particularly Western Equatorial State, forcing thousands of Sudanese people to also flee their homes for safety. OCHA estimated there were up to 50,000 Congolese refugees and Sudanese displaced in both Central and Western Equatoria.
In Western Equatorial State, MSF teams are offering assistance to Congolese refugees and Sudanese people displaced by rebel violence. Based in Yambio town, the MSF team has provided primary healthcare and psychological support to the people in Yambio, Makpandu, Naandi, and Ezo.
Since February, MSF medical teams have carried out 2,600 consultations and provided psychological support to more than 300 people. They main diseases they treat are bloody diarrhoea, upper respiratory tract infections and intestinal parasites. However in the last month, it has been impossible to access Ezo due to continuous LRA attacks.
Since February MSF teams had also been assisting more than 7,000 Congolese refugees in Libogo and Nyori, in Central Equatorial State. Many of these refugees had fled Congo pre-emptively, fearing attacks by the LRA. They either integrated themselves within the resident Sudanese community, constructing local shelters, or sought refuge in the open air, underneath trees or in a school building.
UNHCR then set up a refugee camp near Nyori, to house the refugees seeking shelter in Nyori village and in Libogo altogether in one place. MSF built a primary healthcare clinic in the camp, where each week the doctors and nurses carried out an average of 500 consultations, primarily for maternal healthcare, and treated people for conditions including malaria, diarrhea, and respiratory tract infections.
MSF then established a team of community health workers, who travelled throughout the camp and neighbouring community raising awareness about prevention and treatment of diseases.
MSF also vaccinated children against measles and improved the water and sanitation situation by fixing boreholes, building showers and latrines, and improving the water supply from the river.
Once it had met the most urgent needs of the refugees, and fully established the medical clinic in the refugee camp, MSF teams handed over their project in Central Equatoria to an organisation called ‘Across’ in July. MSF makes regular visits back to Nyori and remain ready to respond if there is another large influx of refugees or displaced there.
About 28 national and four international staff are currently running the MSF project in Western Equatoria State, Southern Sudan.