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Medair Forced to Suspend Operations in Malakal After Violent Clashes

Contact: Medair UK, +44 (0) 20 8772 0100; Medair Switzerland +41 (0)21 694 35 35


LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Nov. 30 /Standard Newswire/ -- Three members of Medair staff were evacuated and operations suspended in Malakal, Southern Sudan, after heavy gunfire erupted in the streets on Monday. The Medair relief workers took shelter in a UN compound for 36 hours before being airlifted to safety, shaken but unharmed. As a precaution, seven more Medair staff have been relocated from nearby Payuer.


In what UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described as a 'serious violation' of the security arrangements, violent clashes between southern troops and pro-government militia prompted emergency security measures to be taken by all UN and INGO agencies.


Malakal is an important logistical site for Medair. Located on the eastern bank of the White Nile, it offers transport and supply links with Medair's relief projects in Melut County, a few hours down river. Medair has been working in this remote region for over a decade, providing primary health care and clean water sources for host communities, IDPs and returnees, while ensuring the sustainability of these projects through the training of local staff.


Medair provides emergency medical and water assistance for outbreaks, large people movements and nutritional emergencies across all 10 states of Southern Sudan.


In 2007, Medair plans to significantly expand these vital services in Melut County by opening three new Primary Health Care Units and a Primary Health Care Clinic.


Medair is deeply concerned by the recent hostilities in Malakal, but remains committed to alleviating suffering in the area and hopes to resume these life-saving projects as soon as possible.


Medair is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), based in Switzerland. It has worked in Sudan since 1992. In Upper Nile state, Medair is currently preparing to distribute essential Non-Food Items to over one thousand families recently returned to the area, as well as increasing access to a number of primary health care units and safe water points. These projects are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. They receive financial support from the Humanitarian Aid department of the European Union (ECHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/OFDA) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID).


Elsewhere in southern Sudan, Medair provides emergency medical and water assistance for outbreaks, large people movements and nutritional emergencies, as well as improving access to primary health care and safe water sources in a number of locations across the region. In the northern states, Medair provides access to primary health-care, water and sanitation for up to 200,000 conflict-affected persons in West Darfur; works with war-displaced people in Khartoum; and supports access to primary health-care in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.


Medair’s life-saving activities are dependent upon private financial support. To contribute to this work, please visit