Sudan hospital death toll reaches alarming heights amid raging war

El Fasher, Sudan - At least 134 people have died at a single hospital in the Darfur city of El-Fasher in western Sudan, Doctors without Borders (MSF) said on Sunday, including one MSF team member.

A destroyed livestock market area in al-Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state.
A destroyed livestock market area in al-Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state.  © AFP

War has raged for more than a year between the regular military under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

El-Fasher in North Darfur is the only state capital in the vast western region not under RSF control, and is a key humanitarian hub for a region on the brink of famine.

It has seen sporadic clashes since the war broke out, but fierce fighting reignited on May 10 in what UN chief Antonio Guterres has called "an alarming new chapter" in the conflict.

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MSF said one of its pharmacy watchmen was killed Saturday "when shelling hit his house." He was taken to Southern Hospital, North Darfur state's only remaining hospital, where he died.

At that hospital alone, where a team supported by MSF has treated 979 casualties just over two weeks, "the death toll has reached 134 – a sign of the violent intensity of the fighting," a statement from the medical charity said.

But the real toll is probably much higher, with many residents not leaving their homes because of the fighting, even for emergency medical care.

Sudanese people face increasingly desperate conditions

Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid at a camp in Gadaref, Sudan.
Internally displaced women wait in a queue to collect aid at a camp in Gadaref, Sudan.  © AFP

Shelling and gunfire has spread across El-Fasher, and the army which controls the skies has also pounded it with air strikes.

According to the UN, supplies at El-Fasher's Southern Hospital will last barely a week.

Aid groups have repeatedly pleaded for safe access into the city to allow them to replenish depleted stocks and support exhausted medical teams.

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But an effective siege continues, with the UN reporting key roads "either blocked, subject to significant barriers to movement or unsafe."

Across Sudan, humanitarian workers have been repeatedly targeted, harassed, and killed by both sides.

On Friday, a Sudanese Red Crescent volunteer was killed "while on duty by a gunshot in North Kordofan," the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Since the war began in April last year, tens of thousands of people have been killed, including up to 15,000 in a single West Darfur town, UN experts say.

Nearly nine million people have been forced from their homes.

By the end of April, North Darfur alone hosted more than half a million people displaced over the past year, according to the latest UN figures.

Cover photo: AFP

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