World Bulletin / News Desk
French-founded humanitarian agency Doctors without Borders (MSF) on Saturday evacuated its staffers from South Sudan's Unity State amid fighting between government forces and rebels in the area.
"Today, we withdraw again with a heavy heart, because we know how civilians will suffer when they are cut off from critical, lifesaving medical care," MSF Head of Mission Paul Critchley said in a statement.
The NGO said that it has also halted medical services in its hospital in the Leer County in the state due to the fighting.
Last year, the hospital was burned and looted when the town was attacked with staffs fleeing into the bush.
"We hope that we do not see a repeat of what happened in January 2014 when fighting forced thousands of people – including our local staff who took along dozens of critically ill patients – to hide in the swamps with their families," Critchley said.
"When our staffs were able to return some months later, we found the hospital burnt, the operating theatre destroyed, and our supplies looted," he added.
South Sudan is about 16 months into a political crisis that President Salva Kiir has been quick to portray as a coup attempt by his sacked vice-president, Riek Machar.
Tens of thousands of people have died and two million have been displaced internally or have fled to neighboring states. What's more, the UN estimates that some 2.5 million people are now at risk of starvation.
This month, Unity State has seen renewed violence leading to the displacement of 100,000 people, according to the UN.
"We must sound the alarm on the grim situation in southern Unity State,” MSF deputy operations director Pete Buth said.
"We cannot stand by and watch as civilians and medical facilities are attacked again," he added.
"All warring parties must take immediate steps to ensure that civilians, as well as humanitarian staff and their facilities and vehicles, are not targeted in the fighting," Buth said.Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2015, 16:03