May 29, 2024

As fighting in Sudan intensifies, multitude of injured individuals seek refuge to Chad.

A view of the Anderessa refugee site in Sila province, eastern Chad, where many Sudanese refugees have taken shelter under trees, and remain without access to basic services. Chad, May 2023. © MSF/Leah Kenny

Peter Hendricks in South Sudan

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) along with local health authorities have provided medical treatment to 72 injured individuals from Sudan at a hospital situated in Adré, eastern Chad. The injuries were caused by ongoing conflicts that have persisted in Darfur and other parts of Sudan for over six weeks, resulting in nearly one hundred thousand individuals seeking refuge in Chad since April 15th of this year (2023).

“The wounded first arrived in dribs and drabs from mid-May onwards. Since then, around 50 people have poured in over the past few days,” says Christophe Garnier, MSF emergency coordinator.

“Most people have sustained bullet wounds in clashes and attacks south of El Geneina in Masterei, a border town with around 80,000 inhabitants, including many displaced people from surrounding villages.”

Typically, those who are injured arrive at Goungour, a town in Chad that is approximately 10 km away from Masterei. After arriving there, Ministry of Health and MSF teams recommend these individuals to seek medical treatment at Adré Hospital. The youngest individual who was admitted as a patient was merely three years of age.

Numerous individuals who are in a serious state are reportedly stranded and unable to reach Chad or obtain medical assistance in West Darfur, especially in El Geneina, where the conflict is escalating.

“Refugees from West Darfur are reporting very disturbing scenes of violence, with armed men shooting at people trying to flee on foot, villages being looted and the wounded dying,” says Garnier.

“The hospitals on the ground are short of staff, equipment and electricity, which is affecting their ability to function, if they have not already been put out of action by destruction and looting.”

Since 2021, MSF groups have been collaborating with the healthcare officials of Chad in Adré to cater to the escalated demands of Sudanese refugees and the local residents. The recent arrival of new refugees in the area has resulted in a 40 percent increase in paediatric consultations at health centres located in Adré, Hilouta, and Mahamata.

Our teams are visiting locations like Goungour where refugees have gathered and providing medical check-ups along with carrying out immunization drives to safeguard children against measles. Over 30,000 young individuals residing in Koufroun, Diza, Midjiguilta, and Goungour have received vaccination for measles. We are extending medical support to both refugees and locals residing in Sila province.

”With the onset of the rainy season, the already precarious living conditions in the makeshift camps will worsen, and the flooding of rivers will complicate the possibilities of movement and supply”. CHRISTOPHE GARNIER, MSF EMERGENCY COORDINATOR

“With the onset of the rainy season, the already precarious living conditions in the makeshift camps will worsen, and the flooding of rivers will complicate the possibilities of movement and supply,” says Garnier.

“This period is also accompanied every year by a very high malaria prevalence, and corresponds to the most difficult months in terms of food insecurity and child malnutrition in the region.”

Discontinuing commercial activities with El Geneina, which is considered the economic hub of the region, may further worsen the already high costs of essential food items in a locality that is extremely susceptible to poverty caused by lack of access to food supplies. Smartly paraphrased: The crisis response needs to take into account the local communities and approximately 400,000 Sudanese refugees who reside in congested and unhygienic camps in eastern Chad for multiple years.