Wars kill more civilians than combatants and amplify the forced displacement of the population
Nearly one third or MSF’s projects in 2016 were devoted to providing assistance for populations trapped by wars, as in Yemen, in South Sudan, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Nigeria, and in Syria.
Since 2015, over a hundred MSF medical infrastructures, or infrastructures supported by MSF were bombarded.
In many conflict zones, civilians and civil infrastructures – including medical establishments – have suffered indiscriminate or even targeted attacks. Since 2015, over a hundred MSF medical infrastructures, or infrastructures supported by MSF were bombarded. While the greater majority of attacks on MSF hospital infrastructures took place in Syria, the bombardments in Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Sudan were equally lamentable.
Millions of people have had to flee their homes, often many times. Our teams have helped people trapped by war and those fleeing it, with a particular focus on the vulnerable, especially pregnant women and new-born babies; they have treated those who were injured and people with medical emergencies, provided treatment for those with chronic illnesses and have responded to epidemics, particularly through vaccination campaigns.
Our teams have helped people trapped by war and those fleeing it, with a particular focus on the vulnerable, especially pregnant women and new-born babies.
MSF has also worked to respond to other vital needs, distributing safe drinking water and essential relief items. MSF has also helped victims of forced displacement fleeing repression, poverty or violence, and who very often suffer new forms of violence, exploitation, or ways in which their life and health has been put in danger, because States refuse to countenance safe and legal migration options.
Migrants seeing safety and protection exposed to ever greater risks
The number of people crossing the sea to Italy increased from 153,000 in 2015, to over 180,000 in 2016. At least 5,000 men, women and children died in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean. MSF teams on three search and rescue boats saved 21,600 from vessels in distress on the Mediterranean.
Without search and rescue operations put in place by the NGOs. How many more would have died in the Mediterranean?
Our teams also recovered the bodies of those who had drowned, or had been asphyxiated or crushed by the hundreds of others on board. In 2016, nearly one in 35 died in the attempt to escape Libya by sea. “Without search and rescue operations put in place by the NGOs. How many more would have died in the Mediterranean?” asks Dr Rony Zachariah, manager of the Unité de Recherche Opérationnelle [Operational Research Unit] based in Luxembourg (LuxOR).
In June, three months after the signature of the EU-Turkey agreement, MSF announced that it would no longer accept EU funds or funds from Member States of the EU, in protest at their damaging deterrent policies and continuing attempts to distance people and their suffering by keeping them outside the borders of Europe.
Since the agreement, the EU and the Member States have promulgated multiple untruths in order to present this approach as a success, whereas, in reality its implementation has led to daily, systematic violations of human rights.
Since the agreement, the EU and the Member States have promulgated multiple untruths in order to present this approach as a success, whereas, in reality its implementation has led to daily, systematic violations of human rights. Vulnerable people are not being protected and are not receiving the care and treatment they need.
The Balkans route: between inhuman treatment and a lack of protection
The MSF Luxembourg Unité de Recherche Opérationnelle has witnessed this year the devastating consequences of these migration policies, particularly on the Serbian/Hungarian border. “Punching and kicking injuries, dog bites, irritation caused by the use of tear gas, and other serious injuries: between September 2016 and February 2017, 86% of the violence suffered by migrants on the Balkans route was committed by State authorities. 93% of this was caused by those of the Member States of the EU: 48% in Bulgaria, 28% in Hungary, and 17% in Croatia. Without distinction of age, or respect for human rights, children and adolescents were also victims of this violence. Has fleeing conflicts and death now become an offence?” Dr Rony Zachariah asks.
During 2016, the MSF teams also responded to other emergency situations caused by epidemics (malaria, cholera, measles, etc.), by natural disasters (particularly in Haiti following hurricane Matthew in October), and provided improved care and treatment for patients suffering from illnesses such as tuberculosis (TB) and HIV.
25 staff work in the association on raising the awareness of the Luxembourg population of humanitarian issues, collecting the funds needed to finance these interventions, providing administrative support for MSF volunteers who work in the various intervention locations in situ, and in order to see through to a successful conclusion dozens of search operations, in direct liaison with operations generally, with a view to making them ever more efficient. MSF Luxembourg also has 100 associate members, 58 volunteers, 9 members of the Executive Board and over 25,000 active donors who enable MSF to fulfil its missions.
30 years of MSF Luxembourg
2016 was also the 30th anniversary of the creation of MSF in Luxembourg. This is an important date that underlines the commitment of the hundreds of volunteers who since 1986, have travelled to work in the territories where MSF intervenes, at the bedsides of thousands and thousands of patients. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, MSF Luxembourg has reflected on its history, particularly through the publication of a book (consisting of thirty intimate testaments from members of the association who have contributed to its foundation or development) and an exhibition (which provided a representation of key moments in MSF Luxembourg interventions and initiatives though 30 photographs); we also launched two campaigns, one with a view to nurturing humanitarian vocations (MSF would be nothing without the men and women that are a part of it) and the other to thank all our donors who, through their support, contribute to writing MSF Luxembourg’s history for the sustainable future.
Unfailing independence, due to the support of donors
In fact, it is due to the generosity of the Luxembourg population that MSF is able to fulfil its missions. In 2016, 25,484 people supported the activities of MSF, donating 4.7 million euros.
In 2016, 25,484 people supported the activities of MSF, donating 4.7 million euros.
“By way of example, 4.7 million euros is the effective budget for the overall running of a 118 bed hospital and six health centres in Bangassou in the Central African Republic. Each donation, regardless of the amount, is therefore important, and substantively contributes to saving lives. Wherever we have been active in 2016, our donors were there. We thank them all for their contribution, and for being the guarantors of our independence”, in the words of Dr Guy Berchem, President of MSF Luxembourg.
In 2017, MSF continues and will continue to provide medical assistance for populations whose lives or health is at risk: mainly in armed conflicts, epidemics and natural disasters, or deprivation of treatment. Independent of all political, economic or religious bodies, MSF continues, and will continue to act, in complete impartiality, following up on the evaluation of medical needs of the populations concerned.
Rapport d'activités MSF Luxembourg 2016
LuxOR 2016 Annual Report Summary
*Main picture: MSF medical team at AL-Nasr hospital in Al-Dhale governorate south of Yemen providing medical assistance to patient in the ER, the patient was injured due to road traffic accident. © Mohammed Sanabani/MSF