Monguno attack: ICRC evacuates 16 civilians to Maiduguri for surgical care

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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said it evacuated 16 wounded civilians from the attacks in Monguno and Nganzai, Borno State, to its surgical facility at Maiduguri State Hospital for care.

The ICRC, in a statement posted on its website, said the evacuation was done with the support of the Nigeria Red Cross Society.

“We evacuated 16 wounded civilians, including four women, by helicopter on Sunday to ICRC surgical facility at Maiduguri State hospital for care.

“The attacks in Monguno and Nganzai in Nigeria’s Borno State on Saturday are the latest example of the deadly toll the conflict has on civilians.

“Dozens of people were killed and injured, many of them women and children, and humanitarian infrastructure was destroyed,” said ICRC.

According to the statement, one of the patients sadly passed away upon arrival and the other 15 were treated on Sunday and Monday and are now in recovery stage.

The statement quoted, Markus Dolder, the ICRC’s head of sub-delegation in Maiduguri, as saying: “This tragic attack is a stark reminder that the conflict in north-east Nigeria cannot be forgotten amidst the pandemic.

“Violence continues to drive suffering, death, and displacement, all while our ability to respond is made more complicated by COVID-19.”

ICRC, however, expressed concerns over the humanitarian situation in the state and that the health facility had been over stressed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The influx of patients injured in the attack adds an additional stress to health care facilities in Monguno that were weakened by the protracted armed conflict and struggle to prepare for the pandemic.

“Our team in Monguno received reports that a local hospital ran out of essential items to stabilise patients, such as tramadol, gauze and bandages.

“Among patients treated in Monguno hospital are women and young children.

“Treating mass casualties is more complicated amidst COVID-19 as hospital beds need to be spaced out to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

“The surge in patients yesterday made it extremely difficult for the ICRC to ensure physical distancing in the ward.

“Many of the civilians injured and killed in the attack were already uprooted from their homes because of the conflict and had been enduring hardship in Monguno for many years,” it stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 10,300 people with weapon injuries received surgical care from the ICRC in 2019 at Maiduguri State Hospital.

The ICRC is supporting a primary health care centre in a displacement camp in Monguno.

The clinic was caught in the crossfire during the Saturday attack after surviving a fire that spread in the camp two weeks earlier.

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