Internet and hospitals fail in Sudan as fighting in capital intensifies; at least 2,000 Sudanese dead

Internet and hospitals fail in Sudan as fighting in capital intensifies; at least 2,000 Sudanese dead
Sudanese hospital with visible shelling damage near top

The internet is down in Sudan, Africa’s third-largest country, as bloody fighting continues between Sudan’s Armed Forces and the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF), after an agreed-upon 72-hour truce failed to go into effect. At least 2,000 people have died. Tens of thousands of Sudanese are seeking refuge from the fighting by fleeing to neighboring Chad, one of the world’s poorest countries, where hunger and disease have historically been much worse than in Sudan. France is trying to evacuate its citizens and diplomats from Sudan. The U.S. , United Kingdom, and Canada have evacuated their diplomats and their family members, but 16,000 U.S. citizens remain trapped in Sudan, and at least 1,000 British citizens.

Street battles have left patients and doctors trapped in hospitals for days without supplies, or even water. Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, is the world’s hottest capital city, with a hot desert climate, and is hot even in April. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors and Sudan’s Doctors Union says 70 percent, or 39 out of 59 hospitals, in Khartoum and nearby jurisdictions have had to cease operations. The World Health Organization warns that the remaining hospitals are running out of blood, medical equipment and supplies.

Within hours of the initial fighting, about 200 staff members and 150 patients at Al-Moalem Medical City were trapped as heavy artillery rained down on the hospital, destroying large sections of the complex and forcing everyone towards the ground floor. The hospital is three miles north of Sudan’s main airport, a key prize fought over by the warring combatants. It ended up being surrounded by RSF military vehicles.

“It was a whirlwind,” said a doctor at the hospital, Alhindy Saad Mustafa. “We tried to send patients home, move critical ones to safer areas of the hospital and send out ambulances to grab injured people. But before we could leave, the streets had become a warzone, and there was no way of getting out of the hospital safely. Then came the bloodied soldiers with wounds to every part of their bodies,” he said, as 300 injured troops flooded the hospital.

During the following four days, hospital staff tried to send patients home and away from the fighting as gunfire and artillery fire near the hospital grew worse. Eventually, food and bottled water ran out, and medical supplies and equipment became scarce. “The worst thing was seeing the injured men and chronic patients struggling to survive,” Mustafa said.”They were already vulnerable, and we felt paralysed trying to help them.”

There was a major battle in the north of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, between the Sudanese Armed Forces and RSF fighters involving air strikes, artillery and small-arms fire.

Other cities have also seen fighting, such as Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state. Darfur was the site of mass killings in the past, with the RSF killing vast numbers of Darfuris. Nyala’s poorly-maintained water system provides some of the world’s worst water supplies, resulting in endemic diseases for citizens there.

The inmates of a prison north of the capital escaped, adding to public-safety worries. Kobar prison, which is in the northern part of the capital, was broken into and prisoners let out. Prisoners said they were not being fed, which is why they broke out.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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