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Illustration of fightings in Khartoum, Sudan

Conflict in Sudan

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Last updated on 16 April 2024.

On 15 April 2023, intense fighting broke out between the Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Khartoum and across most of Sudan. Since then, the fighting has killed and injured thousands of people.

Large parts of Sudan have experienced ongoing violence, including intense urban warfare, gunfire, shelling and airstrikes. Our teams are treating war-wounded patients with catastrophic injuries caused by explosions, bullets and stabbings, and at times are responding to mass casualty incidents.  

Millions in Sudan and neighbouring nations are displaced. Refugee camps, particularly those in the south and east, lack adequate healthcare and humanitarian aid. Camp conditions suffer from a lack of water and sanitation, creating potential for outbreaks. The collapse of the healthcare system presents challenges in accessing medical care due to shortages in hospital supplies and staff. Chronic diseases are being neglected, malnutrition is on the rise, and disease outbreaks are also a serious concern – especially due to the rupture of vaccines.

Sudan must not become a forgotten crisis, but the humanitarian response is far from adequate, while restrictions imposed on humanitarian actors by the Sudanese authorities further isolate people in need of healthcare. 

We are currently working in 13 areas in Sudan, including Khartoum City, Khartoum North, Omdurman, Al-Jazeera State, West Darfur State, North Darfur State, Central Darfur State, South Darfur State, Al-Gedaref State, Blue Nile State, White Nile state, Kassala State and Port Sudan.  

Our teams are providing both general and specialised healthcare for patients in various parts of Sudan in existing healthcare facilities and in camps for displaced people. We provide emergency treatment, perform surgeries, offer mental healthcare for survivors of gender-based sexual violence, run mobile clinics for displaced people, treat communicable and non-communicable diseases, and offer maternal and paediatric healthcare, including safe deliveries.  

We also provide water and sanitation services, donate medicines and medical supplies to healthcare facilities, rehabilitate damaged, looted or relocated health facilities and offer incentive pay, training and logistical support to Ministry of Health staff. 

MSF emergency response in Sudan (April 2023-April 2024)

The ongoing conflict has aggravated the risk of outbreaks and made the treatment of malnutrition, chronic illnesses, and control of outbreaks even more challenging. In Zamzam camp in North Darfur there are alarmingly high levels of malnutrition among children – for them, severe diarrhoea can be fatal. Likewise, it can lead to malnutrition in healthy children and cause a rapid deterioration in their health. We estimate that at least one child is dying every two hours in the camp.

The total number of deaths in the camp per day was also cause for extreme alarm, with a crude mortality rate of 2.5 per 10,000 people per day – around 75 people dying per day, and more than double the emergency threshold. 40 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women were also found to be malnourished – another indicator of the intense severity of the situation.

On top of the already catastrophic health crisis, the Sudan Ministry of Health declared a cholera outbreak in Gedaref, Khartoum, South Kordofan and Al Jazirah on 29 October.  

In camps, people are living without proper access to water and sanitation, and in unsanitary conditions, fuelling possible outbreaks. To support patients in remote places or places where healthcare facilities have closed, our mobile clinic teams are providing general healthcare and supporting the referral system to ensure that critical patients have access to specialised healthcare. 


An estimated 682,000 refugees and returnees have crossed the border from Sudan to Chad. They are living in multiple camps in Chad and are facing difficulties to secure even the most basic needs. With a lack of water, food, proper shelter and healthcare people are suffering from diarrhoea, malnutrition, and other diseases such as malaria.   

We are responding to the crisis in five different locations in eastern Chad: Adré, Ourang, Metche, Alacha, Deguessa, Andressa and Goz-Aschiye, Kimiti province to provide maternity and surgical care, water and sanitation, and care for people with malnutrition, malaria or other diseases. In the camps in eastern Chad there is currently a hepatitis E outbreak, which is being exacerbated by poor sanitation and a desperate shortage of clean water in the camps. In Adré camp, there is just one latrine for 677 people, while in Metché camp there is one latrine for 225 people.  

Without swift action to improve sanitation infrastructure and enhance people’s access to clean water, there is a risk that we will witness a surge in preventable diseases and unnecessary loss of life. We are currently providing more than 70 per cent of the drinking water available in Adré, Aboutengue, Metché and Al-Acha camps.

South Sudan

Since the eruption of conflict in Sudan, over 625,000 people have crossed into South Sudan to seek refuge. Our teams are running emergency activities in Renk, Bulukat and Wedweil to provide the refugees and returnees with healthcare services through mobile clinics and hospitals. Abyei project is also impacted with a largely underestimated number of 17,404 returnees who arrived through Amiet point of entry.  

We are seeing an alarming high number of cases of malnutrition amongst returnees and are calling for an increase in the humanitarian response to address the needs of those arriving from Sudan. 


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