In recent months, hospitals in South Sudan have been facing an influx of weapon-wounded patients due to renewed clashes across the country. As a result, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in close cooperation with the South Sudanese Red Cross Society (SSRC), scaled up its emergency response, including support to local clinics and hospitals, and life-saving evacuations and surgeries for the wounded.
”The impact of the armed conflict and violence on people in South Sudan is devastating,” said Pierre Dorbes, the head of the ICRC delegation in Juba. “We see terrible injuries, and often airlifting patients from remote areas is the only way to save their lives.”
Following the latest escalation of violence in the Jonglei state and Greater Pibor Administrative Area, the ICRC has treated over 120 patients, including 41 weapon-wounded people it airlifted from the area. Last year the organization transported and treated 384 weapon-wounded patients in its surgical units at Akobo Hospital and Juba Military Hospital. To enhance surgical capacity, the ICRC has constructed a new Operation Theatre in the hospital the ICRC supports in Juba improving the quality of services.
Although the revitalized peace agreement is still holding, significant challenges remain in South Sudan, making it one of the world’s forgotten crises. Clashes in many parts of the country, including the most recent ones, have killed and injured scores of people and displaced thousands. The recurrence of violence and conflict has been one of the dominant drivers of widespread food shortage in South Sudan, making the population more vulnerable to the ongoing crisis.
“Civilians in places like Upper Nile, Warrap, and Jonglei State have endured horrific suffering, and we call on all armed actors to respect and protect them – to respect the basic rules of International Humanitarian Law and principles of humanity,” Mr. Dorbes added. This is the reason why ICRC engages with armed actors and authorities to improve understanding and respect for the law. “We also ask anyone involved to do everything in their power to facilitate the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian aid.”