Fighting erupted in Sudan on 15 April, affecting Khartoum and other states and leaving many people in life-threating situations. Amidst the violence, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has decided to stay in Sudan and support those in need.
Sudan is hosting more than one million refugees from neighbouring countries, such as South Sudan and Ethiopia, who fled violence and sought shelter. Unfortunately, they now find themselves trapped in another conflict that further hinders their ability to cope.
The ongoing fighting has resulted in a displacement crisis, adding to the difficulties and humanitarian needs of communities in vulnerable circumstances. According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of internally displaced people has doubled in one week to reach 700,000 as a total
How we are responding
Our teams have been providing urgent medical care to those wounded in North Darfur, donating medical supplies to health facilities, and providing healthcare in Khartoum. We are also providing basic and specialised healthcare in Central and West Darfur and in Blue Nile State, as well as conducting emergency activities in Al-Jazeera State.
We have also maintained our efforts to assist vulnerable communities, including refugees from neighbouring countries who have found themselves trapped in another stream of violence. In Al-Gederaf state, our teams continue to provide healthcare to Ethiopian refugees and local communities in Tinedba and Um Rakuba refugee camps.
In recent years in Um Rakuba camp, we have offered essential medical care, including sexual and reproductive health and mental health services, in addition to providing referrals to higher-level health facilities.
We fled to Sudan because of the war, but the situation now is also difficult... I can't afford to buy medication and we are poor.Moulay Alm Asmlash, 53, refugee in Um Rakuba camp
Moulay Alm Asmlash is a 53-year-old father who arrived at Um Rakuba camp in 2020 as a refugee. He had been suffering from diabetes for a long time before he went the MSF hospital for treatment and medication. Fortunately, he found the care he needed, and since then has been receiving regular treatment for his condition.
“Last autumn, my daughter got sick with malaria and received treatment from MSF. Now, most organisations have stopped working and providing services due to the violence and fighting. We are afraid,” says Moulay.
“We fled to Sudan because of the war, but the situation now is also difficult. I always think about my treatment, and I'm afraid that MSF may be forced to leave the camp due to these violent circumstances. I can't afford to buy medication, and we are poor.”
Impact of the current conflict
Due to the recent fighting, our activities in the Um Rakuba camp have been impacted by supply issues. Consequently, our admission criteria has been restricted. The focus has shifted to emergency lifesaving activities, mostly for paediatrics, malnutrition, and maternity.
“As MSF, we are committed to keep providing medical care to refugees and host communities in Um Rakuba refugee camp. We have just received news of new arrivals in the area and therefore we will be ready to adapt our response based on the main emergency needs,” says Francesca Arcidiacono, MSF head of mission in Sudan.
“Last week, I was in the camp and at the hospital. When speaking with refugees, it clearly came out that they are afraid for the future. They feel trapped, they cannot travel. They mentioned a reduction of humanitarian activities, shortages of supplies, and much uncertainty about what will come next,” she says.
“When the fighting began in Khartoum, all supplies of medicine, food products, and drugs, as well as food, were halted in most of the states of Sudan,” says Mohamed Omar Mohamed, MSF project coordinator.
“There was also a large movement of many families living in Khartoum to other states, including Al Gedaref, which increased the pressure on medical and health institutions, in addition to the rise in prices and inflation in the market,” he says.
Women and children particularly vulnerable
Children and women have been left in particularly vulnerable circumstances after being forced to flee to Sudan due to violence in their home countries.
“I have suffered a lot from going to some hospitals to receive treatment, especially since we cannot afford the costs,” says Stom Abdulrahman. “I went to the MSF hospital in Um Rakuba camp and received treatment and healthcare. All of our neighbours take their children to the MSF hospital.”
“The MSF health promotion team visits me regularly and provides me with information about cleanliness, environmental sanitation, and disease prevention,” he says.
Across Sudan, MSF-supported facilities continue to provide medical care in El Fasher, North Darfur, in Kreinik, West Darfur, in Rokero and Zalingei, Central Darfur, in Um Rakuba and Tinedba, El-Gedaref state, in Ad-Damazin, Blue Nile State and Al-Jazeera state.