Emergency aid supplies arrive in Sudan amid fighting

The supplies are enough to treat hundreds of wounded, as the number of civilians killed in violence across the country exceeded 400. (PHOTO: Mark Johnson/REUTERS) (UK MINISTRY OF DEFENSE/)

A plane carrying eight tons of emergency medical aid landed in Sudan on Sunday to resupply hospitals devastated by more than two weeks of fighting between forces loyal to rival generals.

The supplies are enough to treat hundreds of wounded as the number of civilians killed in violence across the country exceeded 400. The conflict erupted on April 15 between the nation’s army and its paramilitary force, and threatens to plunge Sudan into a furious civil war.

More than two-thirds of hospitals in areas with active fighting are out of service, a national association of doctors said, citing shortages of medical supplies, health workers, water and electricity.

On Sunday, the aircraft carrying medical aid took off from Jordan and landed in the city of port sudan, reported the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Supplies, including anesthetics, dressings, sutures, and other surgical supplies, are enough to treat more than 1,000 people wounded in the conflict, the ICRC said.

Emergency aid supplies arrive in Sudan as fighting continues
Smoke rises in Khartoum, Sudan, on Saturday, April 29, 2023, as gunfire and heavy artillery fire continue despite the extension of a ceasefire between the country’s two top generals. The battle for power between the country’s army and its paramilitary rivals has killed hundreds and sent thousands fleeing for their lives. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali) (Marwan Ali/)

“The hope is to take this material to some of the hospitals with the highest critical activity in the capital” Khartoum and other hotspots, said Patrick Youssef, the ICRC’s regional director for Africa.

The Sudan Doctors Union, which oversees casualties, said on Sunday that in the last two weeks, 425 civilians were killed and 2,091 wounded. Sudan’s Health Ministry on Saturday put the total death toll, including combatants, at 528, with 4,500 wounded.

Some of the deadliest battles have broken out in Khartoum. The fighting pits army chief General Abdel Fattah Burhan against General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, head of a paramilitary group known as the Rapid Support Forces.

The generals, both with powerful foreign backers, were allies in an October 2021 military coup that halted Sudan’s irregular transition to democracy, but have since clashed with each other.

Ordinary Sudanese have been caught in the crossfire. Tens of thousands have fled to neighboring countries, including Chad and Egypt.while others remain stuck with dwindling supplies. Thousands of foreigners have been evacuated in airlifts and land convoys.

Emergency aid supplies arrive in Sudan as fighting continues
FILE – A man walks past a house hit in recent fighting in Khartoum, Sudan, on April 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali, File)

On Sunday, fighting continued in different parts of the capital where residents hiding in their homes reported having heard artillery fire. There have been lulls in the fighting, but never a fully observed ceasefire, despite repeated attempts by international mediators.

Over the weekend, residents reported that stores were reopening and that normality gradually returned to some areas of Khartoum as the scale of fighting subsided after another shaky truce. But in other areas, terrified residents reported explosions all around them and fighters looting houses.

Youssef, the ICRC official, said the agency has been in contact with senior commanders on both sides to ensure that medical assistance can reach hospitals safely.

“With this news today, we really hope this becomes part of an ongoing coordination mechanism to allow other flights in,” he said.

Youssef said that more medical aid was ready to be sent to Khartoum pending the necessary authorizations and security guarantees.

Medical aid supplies for Sudan are seen at a warehouse in Amman, Jordan, in this handout image obtained April 30, 2023. ICRC/Handout via REUTERS
Medical aid supplies for Sudan are seen at a warehouse in Amman, Jordan, in this handout image obtained on April 30, 2023. ICRC/Handout via REUTERS (ICRC/)

Sudan’s health system is on the brink of collapse with dozens of hospitals out of service. Multiple aid agencies have had to suspend operations and evacuate employees.

On Sunday, an American warship also arrived to Port Sudan to evacuate more American citizens, according to images from the television channel al-Arabiya Saudi owned.

Most of the approximately 16,000 Americans believed to be in Sudan at this time hold dual American and Sudanese citizenship. The Defense Department said in a statement Saturday that it was moving naval assets off the coast of Sudan to support future evacuations.

(With information from AP)

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