Wednesday, November 22, 2017 — Dear media colleagues,
Doctors Without Borders (MSF), has suspended all its medical activities in Bangassou, a town in the southeastern area of the Central African Republic (CAR) following a violent armed robbery on Monday evening that threatened the lives of MSF staff.
Half a million people who were relying almost entirely on MSF’s services in the Bangassou region, have now been left with no access to healthcare as a result of MSF's evacuation of all 58 national and international staff from there.
“Today, the 30 children under five who were in intensive care in the Bangassou hospital will not be seen by doctors or nurses. The 26 patients in urgent need of surgery will be left in their beds,” says Frédéric Lai Manantsoa, MSF’s country director. “The Bangassou population has already started leaving the city, including critically ill patients from the hospital."
Bangassou, is largely under control of various armed groups affiliated to the Anti-Balaka factions.
Most health centres not supported by MSF, were left empty, lacking staff and the most basic drugs and medical supplies in this area largely under control of various armed groups affiliated to the Anti-Balaka factions.
Please find below
- A short press release describing the incident in Bangassou.
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CAR: MSF suspends humanitarian relief, medical activities in Bangassou after attack
22 November 2017
BANGUI – Following a violent armed robbery last night that threatened the lives of its workers, the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has evacuated all its 58 national and international staff from Bangassou. The town is located in the southeastern area of the country that is largely under control of various armed groups affiliated to the Anti-Balaka factions.
“We had the will and the means to stay in those areas. But we cannot put the lives of our staff on the line when the medical structures where we work and our staff are threatened”, says Frederic Lai Manantsoa, MSF’s country director.
In the Bangassou region, half a million people were relying almost entirely on MSF services to access healthcare. Following attacks, most health centers in the area not supported by the organization were left empty, lacking staff and the most basic drugs and medical supplies.
“Today, the 30 children under five who were in intensive care in the Bangassou hospital will not be seen by doctors or nurses. The 26 patients in urgent need of surgery will be left in their beds. The Bangassou population has already started leaving the city, including critically ill patients from the hospital”, says Frédéric Lai Manantsoa.
Following MSF’s suspension and temporary departure, very few outside witnesses of what is happening on the ground remain in this area.
“Facing such huge, desperate needs, an international humanitarian organization like ours should try to remain in the area as long as possible. Leaving the population utterly abandoned is a painful admission that we are unable to bring humanitarian relief to one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world today because of attacks on our staff.”
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Note to editors: IN ENGLISH - UPDATE
MSF has been working in CAR since 1997 and remains operational in 10 locations across the country. The organization continues to bring medical relief to people living behind the rapidly evolving frontlines that divide the country, including Bria, Bambari, Alindao, Batangafo, Kabo, Bossangoa, Boguila, Paoua, Carnot and Bangui.
In 2016 the organization provided one million medical consultations, vaccinated 500,000 children for various diseases, performed 9,000 surgeries and assisted 21,000 births in the country Since the beginning of the year however, as armed conflict intensified in the country, the organization had to transform 4 out of its 16 medical projects (including Bangassou and Zemio) that previously provided health care for the general population into emergency relief for people directly or indirectly affected by conflict.