Canadian Red Cross surgical team to assist in South Sudan conflict

OTTAWA, Jan. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - A team of five Canadian Red Cross medical personnel is deploying to South Sudan to increase the International Committee of the Red Cross' (ICRC) surgical capacity in communities affected by the recent armed conflict. Families in South Sudan are facing a serious crisis with the increase in violence, in addition to longstanding hardships in the country.

"The humanitarian situation in South Sudan is alarming, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting," said Conrad Sauvé, secretary general and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. "The Canadian Red Cross is pleased to be able to supply highly trained personnel to provide such urgently needed medical services to those caught in the conflict."

The Canadian team seconded to the ICRC includes two anaesthetists, a surgeon and two operating theatre nurses. The team will focus its efforts on boosting the capacity of local hospitals to treat wounded patients, particularly treating people wounded by the conflict. The Canadian team joins three other field surgical teams operating in hospitals in Juba, Malakal and Bentiu.

In addition to deploying surgical teams, the ICRC has provided wound-dressing kits, medicines and other medical supplies to treat at least 1,000 patients, and has delivered 259,000 litres of clean water to one of Juba's main hospitals. South Sudan Red Cross volunteers are administering first aid, dressing wounds, and providing general assistance in two of Juba's main hospitals.

"Our Government is proud to support the crucial work of the Canadian Red Cross medical team in providing critical health and medical care to the crisis-affected populations," said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development. "Canada is working with trusted humanitarian organizations like the Canadian Red Cross to help ensure that those affected by the outbreak of violence receive much-needed emergency assistance."

The deploying surgical team is made up of trained members of the modular Canadian Red Cross emergency response unit field hospital system. The deployment is made possible due to the generous support of the Government of Canada through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. It is a crucial part of the Red Cross Movement's emergency response capacities. This is the second deployment of Canadian Red Cross medical teams to South Sudan: in April 2013, the Canadian Red Cross deployed a medical team in response to an upsurge in violence in Jonglei State. Medical teams and field hospitals have previously been deployed during public health disasters in the Philippines, Haiti, Chad, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Mozambique.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information:

Canadian Red Cross Media Line
(613) 740-1994