Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (SAF) erupted in different parts of Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, on Sunday 15 April 2023. With fighting entering its sixth day, Sudan is facing a growing humanitarian and security crisis, with hundreds killed and thousands more wounded.
Despite international calls for ceasefires and humanitarian pauses, the humanitarian situation on the ground is increasingly desperate as the warring parties have effectively prevented humanitarian operations in the country, including those of the UN.
The Preliminary Committee for Sudan Doctors Trade Union (PCSDTU) reports that at least three civilians were killed on the first day of the clashes. The death toll has since risen to over 174 people, with at least 1,041 wounded as battles between army and paramilitary forces extended into their sixth day. Although reliable data is scarce, these figures are likely to be significant underestimates, especially given the difficulties in accessing health services during the fighting.
Also, three World Food Programme (WFP) staff members were killed during the ongoing clashes in Kabkabiya, North Darfur. Two WFP employees were also injured during the same incident. The UN and other humanitarian organisations have now halted all operations, impacting at least one-third of the Sudanese population, and Martin Griffiths, the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, says the fighting has “totally shut down” the UN’s work in Sudan (Aljazeera)
Due to ongoing street battles, the conflict has resulted in a rapid increase in the number of victims of violence. The already fragile healthcare system is struggling to cope. More than 20 major hospitals are out of service due to direct attacks or running out of lifesaving medication and blood supply, and medical personnel who cannot reach the facilities due to the ongoing clashes (CNN). The WHO have called for a safe passage for healthcare workers and those needing medical attention.
The Sudanese diaspora are not just passive observers to the crisis. They are actively engaged in providing a humanitarian response, mobilising cash and non-cash resources for relief and medical supplies and conducting crisis advocacy and media engagement to raise global awareness of humanitarian needs in the country.
For example, the Sudan Doctors’ Union in Canada and the UK have published first-aid guides for physical injuries and mental health. They have also posted an urgent appeal for donations to help with the ongoing crisis and provide urgent medical aid. The Sudan Doctors Union in the UK and the Sudanese American Physicians Association (SAPA) have also started fundraising on their social media pages. Similarly, Sudanese students associations in North America and Europe have launched fundraising campaigns for medical relief in Sudan.
Sudanese diaspora humanitarians, activists and allies have also been busy translating information into and from Arabic for Sudanese and broader audiences to keep them informed about the situation and sharing key messages and safety advice.
In addition, they have been conducting crisis advocacy and media engagement to highlight humanitarian needs and maintain international interest in the crisis. They also provide advice and support to Sudanese communities in settlement countries affected by the crisis.
ACLED : https://acleddata.com/africa/horn-of-africa/sudan/
Sudan Doctors Union: https://sdu.org.uk/ and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sudan-Doctors-Union-UK-1221030461377420/
Beem Reports https://www.beamreports.com/
Change.org petition to end the violence in Sudan: https://www.change.org/p/stop-war-in-sudan-and-bring-peace-now?signed=true