A DUBLINER is heading up a vital life-saving relief mission as new violence rips through Southern Sudan.
Stepped-up shooting has killed hundreds and created 250,000 refugees with people living in constant fear of attack.
International humanitarian group MSF (Medicin sans Frontieres) say the recent attacks have seen three times more people killed than wounded.
"The situation here in Southern Sudan has severely deteriorated this year, which was the most violent since the 2005 peace agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war with the north," Dubliner Ross Duffy of MSF told the Herald.
"In the attacks our teams were responding to more than three times the number of people killed than wounded.
"We went to villages where 400 people were slaughtered at night, the majority of them women and children, where everyone fled before they were able to bury their loved ones.
"This violence is in a region that has every disease in the medical book, where three out of four people don't have access to really basic healthcare.
"To put it into perspective, there are only 10 certified midwives in all of Southern Sudan, which is over six times the size of Ireland," Ross added.
MSF is running a massive relief operation with more than 1,200 field staff [both international and national staff] in Southern Sudan.
"It's a a very tough job but the impact of our medical work is for everyone to see," Ross said.
"In just one of our clinics, we dealt with over 50 gunshot wounds in one week. As a result of the increased violence, in two of the 10 states alone, we performed 1,426 surgeries in the first 10 months of the year, more than the total 1,271 surgeries in all of Southern Sudan the year before.
"All the signs are there that this is a growing emergency," he said.
"One of our biggest frustrations is the international focus on long-term development at the expense of an emergency response. MSF is providing free medical care where we can but we can't shoulder the burden alone. The basics that people need -- food, shelter, medicine, safety -- are simply not being met on time. This needs to change," Ross added.