Conflict leaves Sudan health sector limping


MSF hospitals looted. Photo by Relief Web

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
Sudan Bureau
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – HOSPITALS, offices and warehouses have forcibly been occupied, damaged and looted while vehicles and fuel belonging to health professionals have been stolen.

These are the daily horrors perpetrated against the professionals as militants make the most of the civil war ravaging Sudan.

This disregard for humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law has impeded on the health sector’s ability to provide care to people at a time when it is desperately needed.

“We are experiencing a violation of humanitarian principles and the space for humanitarians to work is shrinking on a scale I’ve rarely seen before,” lamented Jean-Nicolas Armstrong Dangelser, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Emergency Coordinator in Sudan.

The official relived how after the looting of one of their medical warehouses in Khartoum, fridges were unplugged and medicines removed. The entire cold chain was ruined so the medicines were spoiled and could not be used to treat anyone.

“We are shaken and appalled by these deplorable attacks,” Dangelser continued.

“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.”

The incidents MSF has endured since the fighting between the Sudanese military and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) through have been shocking.

MSF provided a chronology.

• On 16 April, two vehicles stolen in Nyala, South Darfur. MSF’s compound and warehouse were violently looted. The warehouse remains occupied by armed fighters.

• Ten days later, the El Geneina Teaching Hospital, where MSF managed the paediatric and nutrition departments, was looted, with parts of the hospital damaged or destroyed. The hospital remains closed following the attack.

On May 4, an MSF office in El Geneina was looted.

May 11 saw an MSF office in Khartoum, looted with two vehicles stolen.

On May 18, a guesthouse in Nyala, South Darfur, was looted.

A day later, three cars were taken after armed men entered an MSF office in Khartoum

Between May 16 and 23, the attacks are reported to have peaked.

A warehouse in Khartoum was looted and occupied with medical supplies, fuel and vehicles stolen. Medicines were spoiled.

An office in Zalingei and the Zalingei Teaching Hospital, in Central Darfur, were looted. A generator was destroyed and fuel the MSF had donated at the latter was stolen.

MSF runs medical projects in ten states in Sudan and is therefore operating before capacity now.

As of 22 May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has documented 38 attacks on the healthcare since the conflict began.

– CAJ News


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