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War in Ukraine: MSF staff report dire conditions in Mariupol

05 Mar 22

War in Ukraine: MSF staff report dire conditions in Mariupol

A family home burns after being hit by a rocket. Mariupol, 24 February 2022. Caption
A family home burns after being hit by a rocket. Mariupol, 24 February 2022.

The city of Mariupol is among the areas now heavily affected by the war in Ukraine. Multiple staff members of Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are sheltering in the city with their families.

One staff member gave the following account today.

"The situation is the same as in recent days. This night the shelling was harder and closer. We collected snow and rainwater yesterday to have some utility water.

"We tried to get free water today but the queue was huge. We also wanted to get ‘social’ bread but it is not clear the schedule and the places of distribution.

"According to people, multiple grocery stores were destroyed by missiles and the remaining things were taken by people in desperate need.

At MSF's out-patient department in Batil refugee camp Gandhi Pant, a nurse, escorts a patient with a possible appendicitis to a waiting ambulance. 

Batil is one of three camps in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State sheltering at least 113,000 refugees who have crossed the border from Blue Nile state to escape fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the SPLM-North armed group. Refugees arrive at the camp with harrowing stories of being bombed out of their homes, or having their villages burned. The camps into which they have poured are on a vast floodplain, leaving many tents flooded and refugees vulnerable to disease. Mortality rates in Batil camp are at emergency levels, malnutrition rates are more than five times above emergency thresholds, and diarrhea and malarial cases are rising.

Help us prepare for the next emergency

"Still no power, water, heating and mobile connection... Pharmacies are out of medicine."

MSF staff
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Mariupol

"Still no power, water, heating and mobile connection. No one heard about any evacuation yet. Pharmacies are out of medicine."

Christine Jamet, MSF director of operations, called today for safe routes to allow civilians to flee from Mariupol, including MSF staff and their families.

People are now effectively trapped in Mariupol, where the war arrived so suddenly that many could not even flee.

"Civilians must not be trapped in a war zone," said Jamet. "People seeking safety must be able to do so, without fear of violence”.

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