Newscast Media JUBA—The United Nations on Wednesday hit back at criticism of its
mission in South Sudan after a leading international aid agency accused it of
“shocking indifference” towards thousands of displaced people living in squalor.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) launched a stinging attack on UN
officials in the country, accusing them of leaving terrified civilians in a section of
camp acknowledged as a “death trap” because of its potential exposure to diseases.
“We are doing our best to decongest the site and encourage people to move
voluntarily to better sites with better sanitation,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric
“It is a huge logistical challenge to take care of these thousands of people.”
MSF said earlier some 21,000 people had been left in a flood-prone part of a UN
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base “exposed to waterborne diseases and
Nick Birnback, spokesman for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations,
rejected the MSF criticisms of UN officials in South Sudan.
“I strongly disagree with the assertions made by MSF against UNMISS and these
views are not necessarily shared by the rest of the humanitarian community,”
“There has been no change in the level of humanitarian assistance being provided,”
The UN was keenly aware of the risks of epidemics and overcrowding, he added.
“De-congestion of overpopulated sites and cleaning up of areas posing an epidemic
risk are essential and remain the basis of all efforts UNMISS is undertaking,” he said.
Around 1,500 civilians had moved voluntarily from the area of the Tomping base in
Juba posing the greatest of health risks.
MSF earlier argued that the UN was failing to do enough in South Sudan, which has
been in conflict since mid-December when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed
with supporters of his former deputy Riek Machar.
Source: Al Manar
Newscast Media MOGADISHU—Doctors Without Borders has announced the closure of
its operations in Somalia. The humanitarian organization cited unparalleled dangers to
its staff in the African country as the driving force behind its decision.
After over two decades of caring for millions of Somalians, the medical humanitarian
organization Doctors Without Borders said it would close its 11 programs across the
country, including in the capital city Mogadishu. The Paris-based group – often
dubbed MSF, for its French name Medecins sans Frontieres – called the decision
“painful,” but necessary due to the extreme dangers facing its staff.
MSF has had to “take the exceptional measure of utilizing armed guards, which it does
not do in any other country, and to tolerate extreme limits on its ability to
independently assess and response to the needs of the population,” the organization’s
president, Dr. Unni Karunakara, told reporters in Nairobi on Wednesday.
“In choosing to kill, attack, and abduct humanitarian aid workers, these armed groups,
and the civilian authorities who tolerate their actions, have sealed the fate of
countless lives in Somalia,” Karunakara added.
The humanitarian organization deploys doctors to serve the world’s neediest
populations who have been affected by wars, epidemics and natural disasters. Last
year alone, MSF provided more than 624,000 medical consultations and admitted
roughly 41,000 patients to hospitals in Somalia.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle