Guriel clashes leave scores of dead and wounded and severely hampers access to healthcare

Dozens of people have been killed and wounded over recent clashes in Guriel town in Somalia’s Galgaduug region, a hospital was severely affected after being caught up in a fire and another one was damaged by shelling. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) calls on all sides to exercise restraint and respect hospitals and medical personnel.

More than 100,000 residents from Guriel have fled to neighboring villages following clashes between the Somali National Army (SNA) and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a (ASWJ) in the Somali state of Galmudug, putting a strain on already scarce resources in the nearby villages. Families displaced by the violence have limited access to shelter, food and healthcare and the ICRC reminds those involved in the violence the necessity to protect the lives of the population, their homes and their livelihoods.

“Intense shelling damaged several buildings, including Guriel’s main hospital, Istarlin, while the Kulmiye Community hospital was completely destroyed after it caught fire. Medical facilities are there to treat wounded from both sides and should never be attacked,” said Mohamed Sheikh, who oversees ICRC’s operations in the area.

Hospitals closed after being damaged from the shelling and wounded from both sides are now struggling to access much needed treatment.

“Parties must allow the wounded to access health facilities, irrespective of who they are. They also need to facilitate the delivery of medical supplies, “said Juerg Eglin, ICRC head of delegation in Somalia.

The ICRC, in partnership with the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) supports health structures on both sides through the delivery of medical supply, including weapon wounded kits, dressing kits and body bags. In addition, efforts to provide water and mobile health care for affected and displaced families are ongoing.

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