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21 Apr, 2023 20:15

Civilians running out of essential supplies in Khartoum – aid worker

Efforts to provide relief are being hindered by heavy fighting, Doctors Without Borders' Operational Manager for Sudan told RT
Civilians running out of essential supplies in Khartoum – aid worker

Civilians are running out of water, food, and medical supplies as hospitals in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and surrounding cities have shut their doors, Doctors Without Borders' Operational Manager for Sudan told RT on Friday. The country has been gripped by a week of military conflict, with hundreds reported killed in the capital alone.

Abdalla Hussein said a 72-hour ceasefire agreed on Friday by Sudan’s paramilitary to mark the Eid Al-Fitr celebration and to “open humanitarian corridors to evacuate citizens” had failed to hold, making provision of humanitarian aid difficult.

“Since this morning there’s heavy bombardment in the city. Freedom of movement for the civilian population is suspended … Hospitals in Khartoum are shutting down one after the other. There are wounded civilians arriving at hospitals but access to health workers is very difficult,” he stated.

Hussein said medical staff had been working non-stop for over 72 hours, unable to leave their posts due to safety concerns. He added that an initial plan to provide medicine to “needy” hospitals in Khartoum had been hampered by bombing and shelling, meaning medical workers are unable to move.

The Sudan Doctors Union reported on Friday that 70% of hospitals in the capital and surrounding towns were no longer operational. According to the committee, the remaining 23 functional hospitals — out of a total of 78 — are also under threat of closure “due to a lack of medical personnel, medical supplies, hydroponics, and electrical current.”

More than 400 people have lost their lives and at least 3,500 others have been injured in the armed conflict so far, the World Health Organization estimated on Friday. Fighting broke out last Saturday amid a power struggle between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. On Sunday, the United Nations' World Food Programme announced it had temporarily halted all operations in Sudan after three of its employees were killed in the clashes. 

An employee of the International Organization for Migration was also killed on Friday, according to the organization. Paul Dillon, a spokesperson for the IOM, told the media that the deceased and his family “found themselves in crossfire” on their way to find safety. 

“Our staff member was critically injured but he managed to drive the car some distance away to a health clinic. Unfortunately, he died of his injuries,” he said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.