Home » MSF and Ministry of Health Suspend Operations in North Darfur Hospital Following RSF Attack

MSF and Ministry of Health Suspend Operations in North Darfur Hospital Following RSF Attack

by Mohammed Ahmed

On Saturday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Ministry of Health halted all activities at South Hospital in Al Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan, after soldiers from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stormed the facility. The incursion involved opening fire inside the hospital and looting, including the theft of an MSF ambulance.

At the time of the attack, only 10 patients and a reduced medical team were present, as MSF and the Ministry of Health had begun transferring patients and services to other facilities earlier in the week due to escalating violence. Most patients and the remaining medical team, including all MSF staff, managed to escape the RSF shooting. Due to the chaos, it was not possible to verify if there were any casualties from the gunfire.

“It is outrageous that the RSF opened fire inside the hospital. This is not an isolated incident, as staff and patients have endured attacks on the facility for weeks from all sides, but opening fire inside a hospital crosses a line,” said Michel Lacharite, MSF’s Head of Emergencies. He stressed the necessity for warring parties to cease attacks on medical care, highlighting the severe strain on the remaining operational medical facilities.

South Hospital, one of only two facilities with surgical capacity in Al Fasher, was a critical referral center for treating war-wounded and managing mass casualties. Between May 10 and June 6, the hospital treated over 1,300 casualties. From May 25 to June 3, mortar shells and bullets struck the hospital three times, resulting in two deaths and 14 injuries among patients and caretakers.

The recent attack forced the suspension of operations at South Hospital, with wounded patients now being redirected to facilities like the Pediatric and Saudi hospitals, which are unprepared for the sudden influx of patients. MSF is aiding in transferring services and continues to address the nutritional crisis in Zamzam.

Lacharite underscored the urgent need for the protection of medical facilities amid the ongoing conflict: “Hospitals are closing. Remaining facilities can’t handle mass casualties. We are trying to find solutions. The responsibility is on warring parties to spare medical facilities.”

The suspension of services at South Hospital marks a significant blow to healthcare provision in the region, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. MSF and other humanitarian organizations continue to call for an end to attacks on medical facilities and for respect for international humanitarian law.

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