Last Tuesday –28th August 2007 - Fighting broke out between government troops and loyalists of dissident general Laurent Nkunda in the North Kivu province of the DRC. At the same moment, an MSF logistician and a nurse were in the process of carrying out an exploratory mission in the area.
The heaviest fighting took place near to Masisi (60 kilometres from Goma) causing the whole population to flee, leaving the town empty. After reports of numerous people killed or wounded during the fighting, the MSF exploratory mission traveled directly to Masisi to assess the situation in the hospital. While there were few wounded at the time, the mountainous nature of the area, in addition to the insecurity, makes reaching the hospital difficult. As such, MSF is expecting an influx in the coming days.
Currently, an MSF team is en route to join the two staff already working in the Masisi hospital. The new team consists of a surgeon, an anesthetist and two nurses. A logistician also traveled to Goma to take delivery of 1.5 tones of medical material dispatched on Thursday from Kinshasa. This includes kits for the wounded, as well as other important items in ‘Congo’ kits, made up of as bandages, suture material, essential drugs and equipment for blood transfusions. Surgical material will follow within the next two days.
MSF is working in Rutshuru, Kayna, Nyanzale, Walikale and Mweso in the North Kivu region. MSF has been working in the DRC since 1981 and today, more than 2000 Congolese and 150 international staff provide medical assistance in over 20 project locations across the country.