Battle shakes Sudan’s stock as displaced persons combat diseases

Intense fighting between the forces of rival generals shook the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday as disease and malnutrition frightened the rising number of displaced.

A Khartoum resident said he was shaken from sleep by “violent fighting in which various weapons were used”. Another said he was aroused by warplanes. Battles since mid-April between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have killed nearly 3,000 people.

Another 2.2 million have been forced from their homes inside the country while nearly 645,000 have fled across borders for safety, according to the International Organization for Migration.

“The situation is grave,” the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a declaration detailing the hardships of displaced Sudanese stuck in nine camps in White Nile State which borders South Sudan.

In addition to the capital, the worst fighting has been in the western region of Darfur where residents, as well as the United Nations, United States, and others, say civilians have been targeted and murdered for their ethnicity by the RSF and allied Arab militias.

The death toll is understood to be much higher than recorded, as the World Health Organization says about two-thirds of health facilities are “out of service” in combat-affected areas.

Many injured are incapable to reach hospitals and bodies lie rotting on the roads of Khartoum and Darfur.

A record 25 million people in Sudan need humanitarian aid and protection, the UN says.

“Hundreds of thousands of people, most of them women and children” pack those camps that stretch out from the south of Khartoum to the border with South Sudan, MSF said.

“There are suspected cases of measles, and malnutrition among children has become a vital health emergency.

“From June 6 to 7 we treated 223 children with suspected measles, 72 were hospitalized and 13 have died,” MSF said.

The war has shoved the country’s already fragile infrastructure, leaving residents short of water and electricity in the harsh heat.

Numerous ceasefires, including some negotiated by the United States and Saudi Arabia, have failed to hold.

Battling continued during the just-ended Eid al-Adha holiday for which the warring sides declared openly separate unilateral truces.

Edited by Damilola Adeleke

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