Sudan: Ceasefire a potential lifesaver for civilians trapped without food, water, medical care
Street battles and the use of heavy explosive weapons in Khartoum have had a devastating impact on civilians and critical infrastructure over the last week, forcing many to flee or seek shelter.
Patrick Youssef, ICRC’s regional director for Africa, said: “Khartoum is a densely populated city of millions. When heavy explosive weapons are used, street corners become battlefields, and civilians pay the greatest price. Hundreds have been killed and thousands injured, a heart-breaking outcome of this violence.
“We welcome the reports of a ceasefire and urge the international community to help find a durable political solution to end the bloodshed. It’s clear that this ceasefire must be implemented up and down the chain of command and that it must hold for it to give a real respite to civilians suffering from the fighting.”
Hospitals are increasingly unable to care for patients as medical staff cannot get to work and supplies run out. Violence in other parts of the country, such as in Darfur, has also led to civilian casualties and growing humanitarian needs.
The ICRC is urging the parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
“The parties must take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian injuries and loss of life. Critical civilian infrastructure like hospitals and the energy network must also be protected. This is not optional. These are legal obligations,” Mr Youssef said.
The ICRC remains committed to assisting those in need and asks the sides for guarantees to move safely for humanitarian purposes. Our top priority is to increase assistance to hospitals, and to help ensure that communities have access to clean water.
Note to editors:
The ICRC has been present in Sudan since 1978 helping people affected by the conflict in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The ICRC’s work today, in close cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, includes supporting hospitals and health facilities with equipment and supplies, working with local water authorities on improving people’s access to clean water and supporting the authorities in providing rehabilitation services for people with disabilities.
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