As MSF continues life saving activities in Somalia, Belet Weyne hospital hit by a mortar

Nairobi —As ongoing fighting in Hiraan and Galgadud regions of Somalia continues to take its toll on the civilian population, MSF continues to support two hospitals in Guri El and Belet Weyne where 111 wounded people were admitted between January 10 to 12. The majority of injuries were multiple fractures, abdominal and chest injuries. When the hospital of Belet Weyne was hit by a mortar shell on January 12, 2010, two employees from the medical aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were injured. “More than 200 MSF staff are working around the clock in Guri El and Belet Weyne hospitals to provide medical care despite the danger,” said Head of Mission Andreas Papp. “On January 12, two of our colleagues were injured when a mortar exploded in the hospital compound in Belet Weyne. “Fortunately they were not seriously hurt, but we once again want to remind the combatants in Somalia to respect health structures, patients and medical staff and ask them to allow MSF to bring in more desperately needed medical supplies by air and road.” MSF is one of the only organisations providing free surgery and emergency medical care in Somalia, MSF staff will treat anyone, no matter their clan, political, military or religious allegiances, but cannot risk their own lives to do so. In addition the recent clashes have caused the displacement of thousands from Belet Weyne town alone. MSF has worked in Somalia since 1991. In Hiraan region, MSF runs a 120 bed hospital in Belet Weyne offering free, secondary level health care to the 280,000 inhabitants of the region. In Galgadud MSF runs the 80 bed Istarlin hospital, as well as an outpatient department in Dhusa Mareb and health post in Hinder.

MSF also provides free medical care in Banadir, Bay, Lower Juba, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle and Mudug Regions. Over 1,500 Somali staff, supported by approximately 90 staff in Nairobi provide primary health care, malnutrition treatment, health care and support to displaced people, surgery, water and relief supply distributions.

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Project Update 18 June 2010