14 January 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) and health partners are responding to the health needs of people affected by recent conflict in El Geneina, West Darfur, Sudan. To date, WHO has delivered medicines and medical supplies for more than 120 200 people, including those in need of trauma or surgical care. Other supplies delivered by health partners include medicines for diarrhoeal diseases, childhood illnesses, and obstetric deliveries.

“Due to overcrowded living conditions and limited safe water and sanitations services, the risk of vector- and waterborne infectious diseases spreading is high. Disease surveillance has been established, although immunization remains a gap that needs to be urgently addressed,” said Dr Hoda Atta, acting WHO Representative in Sudan.

Violence between opposing tribes resulted in tens of people killed and hundreds injured, and (according to a recent inter-agency assessment) up to 70 000 people living in camps and surrounding villages were affected. A health worker at El Geneina Hospital was attacked by armed personnel, and the hospital became temporarily non-functional due to insecurity. As of 10 January, people fleeing Geneina town continued to seek shelter in schools and other gathering points, where there are reports of shortages of food, safe water, sanitation facilities and proper shelter.

Seven medical points have been established by health partners to cover the areas where displaced people are located, and those in need of hospital care are being referred to Geneina Teaching Hospital. Two ambulances transfer patients and carry laboratory samples for analysis to the hospital.

“WHO and all health partners are on high alert as we respond to the current needs of all people affected, while at the same time working hard to avert any potential health risks,” Dr Atta added.

A team of public health experts from the Health Sector and Water and Sanitation Sector visited the area on 5–6 January to review the situation on the ground, speak with displaced families, and further identify the needs of the people affected.

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