Intense fighting in Sudan
- In Khartoum, El Geneina, Zalingei and in other cities and towns where heavy fighting continues, people remain trapped, while many hundreds of thousands are fleeing to safer areas of the country or across borders.
- In recent weeks, several hospitals and medical warehouses, including facilities belonging to Doctors Without Borders, have been looted, further reducing access to medical care because facilities have to close or are left without supplies.
- Since the escalation of violence, Doctors Without Borders has been working in ten states: Khartoum, Kassala, Al-Jazeera, West Darfur, North Darfur, Central Darfur, South Darfur, Red Sea, El-Gedaref and Blue Nile.
Since Saturday 15 April, intense fighting has been taking place between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan. Sudanese civilians continue to flee into neighbouring countries like Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, and CAR as a result of the ongoing battle between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which has reached its third week.
Over the past two years, 20,000 people have been living in subpar conditions at the Tanedba refugee camp in Sudan, one of the major camps that were established following the flood of migrants following the resurgence of violence in Ethiopia. The precariousness of their lives has only been made worse by the most recent occurrences.
How is Doctors Without Borders responding amid the intense fighting in Sudan?
Before the violence increased in April, the health system was incredibly unstable, with persistently low health indices and huge gaps between urban and rural areas, as well as between the rich and the poor.
Due to ongoing violence and conflict, the dismal economic condition, under-resourcing, a shortage of medical supplies, the brain drain of medical professionals, and the high cost of healthcare, access to basic medical services has been a serious problem for the majority of people living in Sudan.
The following are new activities in response to the current escalation in violence:
In the capital Khartoum, a surgical team is working in a hospital in south Khartoum, alongside Sudanese medical staff and volunteers, providing emergency and surgical care. We’re now running 24/7 operations. We have our operating theatre, post-op, we’ve built up an intensive care unit. And we’re working, day-by-day, to increase the quality of care. The team performed more than 400 surgical procedures’ since they started working in the Bashair Teaching Hospital in Khartoum on 9 May. Doctors Without Borders is working in collaboration with community volunteers – doctors and nurses but also young people from the area and the community who made a decision to try to restart this hospital after it had closed. Staff had left for their own safety.
While Doctors Without Borders has been able to secure enough medical supplies to work in the Bashair Teaching Hospital for now, drawing on pre-positioned stocks in Khartoum and some donations from others, stocks will run out at some point. A shipment of medical and other supplies landed in Port Sudan on 16 May 2023 and will be moved to Khartoum and another area to the south, Wad Madani, where teams are running mobile clinics for displaced people.
In Wad Madani the capital of Al-Jazeera state, are running mobile clinics for people who have been displaced from Khartoum and supporting health facilities dealing with the influx of patients. We have also distributed hygiene and non-food items and food staples in Wad Madani, prioritising the most vulnerable who are currently sheltering in public buildings, and carrying out WASH activities.
In Port Sudan, the capital of Red Sea state, Doctors Without Borders started implementing some water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) activities in IDP and other collective sites. We are desludging latrines, trucking water, and distributing hygiene items. We have also provided training at local emergency room on MCP and emergency triage.
The Doctors Without Borders-supported hospital in El Fasher, North Darfur, was originally a maternity hospital with no surgical capacity. It was rapidly repurposed to provide urgent trauma care after receiving a huge influx of wounded patients. Since the conflict broke out on April 15, the hospital has carried out over 600 surgical operations for both the wounded and for women requiring emergency obstetric surgery. A Doctors Without Borders truck carrying 10 tons of medical supplies for South Hospital and Zamzam camp arrived in El Fasher on Monday 15 May.
- Donations of medical supplies and fuel to hospitals and other health facilities in Khartoum, North and Central Darfur, Red Sea, and in Al-Jazeera states (where many displaced people have been seeking shelter), and other areas have been and are ongoing – please follow Doctors Without Borders Sudan Twitter account for the latest info on donations https://twitter.com/Doctors Without Borders_Sudan.
- In Umbada locality in Khartoum state, donations of a stock of drugs, medical supplies, wound treatment, and paediatric kits to Al Rahji hospital. These donations were transferred from our Omdurman stock, which is located around 15 kilometres away from the hospital.
- In Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur state, we donated fuel to the Zalingei Teaching hospital to run generators and ambulances.
- We donated medical supplies to the ministry of health designated surgical referral hospital Al-Kamlin in Al-Jazeera state.
After the looting of one of our medical warehouses in Khartoum fridges were unplugged and medicines removed. The entire cold chain was ruined so the medicines are spoiled and can’t be used to treat anyone. We are shaken and appalled by these deplorable attacks. People are in a desperate situation and the need for healthcare is critical, but these attacks make it so much harder for healthcare workers to help. It’s senseless.Jean-Nicolas Armstrong Dangelser
It is estimated that over 75,000 people, including refugees and Chadian returnees, have fled to Chad’s eastern provinces according to the UNHCR – mostly in Ouaddai province but also in Sila and Wadi Fira provinces. These three provinces were already hosting the bigger part of refugees in Chad, with more than 400,000 Sudanese refugees settled in eastern Chad prior to the eruption of the recent violence, often in overcrowded camps with inadequate sanitation facilities and a shrinking access to food assistance in a region gripped by food insecurity, child malnutrition and recurrent preventable outbreaks.
We are currently working at the border with Sudan, in collaboration with health authorities, to run mobile clinics, vaccination, malnutrition screening, referrals and other activities in temporary refugee camps in places like Koufroun, Borota and Goungour in Ouaddaï province. Our teams continue to support Adre hospital and three health centres, where we’ve been working since 2021, and in addition we have recently strengthened surgical capacities to help stabilize and treat the wounded. We refer the most severe cases to Abeche.
We are running mobile clinics in Sila province, in the refugee reception sites of Mogororo and Anderessa, only 500 metres from the border with Sudan, and supporting the health centre in the areas of Daguessa. Our teams provide medical care, including sexual reproductive healthcare, malnutrition screening for children under the age of 5, as well as referrals to secondary health care and for psychosocial support.
- Central African Republic
A Doctors Without Borders team is assessing needs in Vakaga province bordering Sudan, in response to an influx of refugees/returnees from Sudan.
- South Sudan
Doctors Without Borders teams are assessing needs of South Sudanese returnees and refugees and a possible response in Aweil and Upper Nile states bordering Sudan.
How is Doctors Without Borders assisting refugees from Sudan in neighbouring countries?
Urgent call to protect civilians and health centres
Doctors Without Borders is making an urgent call for civilians to be protected from the ongoing indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks that are taking place. We urge all parties to the conflict to guarantee safety for medical staff and patients, so that they can access healthcare facilities without fearing for their lives. We additionally request that all parties to the conflict ensure that all health facilities – including hospitals, clinics, warehouses and ambulances – are protected. They should never be a target.
Doctors Without Borders in Sudan provides life-saving and impartial medical care to all those who need it, based on medical need alone, but currently, we cannot move due to the intensity of the conflict. We reiterate our plea for all those participating in the violence to respect medical personnel, health facilities and ambulances and to spare the lives of civilians and humanitarian workers.
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