The WHO speaks of “a catastrophic humanitarian crisis” in Sudan due to the war between the Army and the RSF paramilitaries

The WHO speaks of "a catastrophic humanitarian crisis" in Sudan due to the war between the Army and the RSF paramilitaries

July 25 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the situation in Sudan due to the war between the Army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has reached “very serious levels” and has stressed that the country is facing “a catastrophic humanitarian crisis” that has affected six countries in the region.

The agency’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed al Mandhari, and the regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, have highlighted in a joint statement that the fighting “continues to take lives, forcing people to flee their homes and their country and leaving people trapped with limited access to essential services, including health.”

Thus, they have stressed that 24 million people need humanitarian aid, including 2.6 million internally displaced persons, while more than 750,000 people have fled Sudan, figures that “grow every day” given the lack of an agreement to end the conflict, which broke out on April 15 due to differences over the reintegration process of the RSF — now declared a rebel group — into the ranks of the Armed Forces.

Along these lines, they have reported that “more than 67 percent of the country’s hospitals are out of service” and have pointed to the “growing” number of reports of attacks on health centers, including 51 that have been verified by the WHO between April 15 and July 24, which have left ten dead and 24 injured.

“It is a tragedy and cause for outrage that in the midst of this deepening crisis, combatants continue to attack medical facilities and workers, denying vital services to innocent civilians when they are at their most vulnerable,” Al Mandhari and Moeti have criticized.

“When there is war, women and children always pay a high price,” they lamented, before expressing their “dismay” at the reports of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls. “Today, more than four million women and girls are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence and must be protected at all costs,” they stressed.

They have also warned of the increase in outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, measles or dengue, due to the impact of the conflict on the Sudanese health system, a situation that could worsen with the arrival of the rainy season.

For this reason, they have stressed that “the current situation, without an immediate expectation for peace, only complicates the access and delivery of humanitarian aid”, while adding that the refugees also face a “precarious” situation in the countries to which they have arrived fleeing the violence in Sudan.

“Access to health services varies widely. Many border areas where they have settled are in remote areas with limited or weak health systems, including an inadequate number of health workers,” they said, before stressing that the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Ethiopia and South Sudan already hosted large numbers of displaced people before.

For this reason, they have outlined that “the WHO is doing everything possible to provide essential health services” and have pointed out that the agency’s workers “work tirelessly.” “We are working with partners at home and across borders to ensure that vital, urgently needed medical supplies are delivered to those who need them and that the surveillance system is strengthened to detect disease outbreaks and enable rapid response,” he argued.

“We stand with the people of Sudan and are committed to staying and delivering vital aid despite the serious challenges that hinder our response,” they said. “We ask that civilians, humanitarian workers, health facilities, staff and patients be protected, whose safety must be respected by all parties to the conflict,” they have settled.

The war has so far left more than 1,100 dead, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Health, but the real figures could be much higher considering the inter-communal violence unleashed in the Kordofan and Darfur regions.

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