A first Red Cross plane laden with humanitarian aid on Sunday, April 30, landed in Sudan, where deadly clashes between rival generals’ forces have entered their third week.
“The eight tons of humanitarian cargo includes surgical material to support Sudanese hospitals and volunteers from the Sudan Red Crescent Society,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said.
Fighting erupted on April 15 between forces loyal to two rival generals, leaving over 500 people killed and thousands wounded while uprooting tens of thousands more from their homes.
Bodies have remained in the streets in the capital since the conflict began, and the ICRC’s Africa regional director, Patrick Youssef, told journalists the Sudanese Red Crescent is “trying to get to the bodies in the streets.”
Only 16% of hospitals are functioning in the capital Khartoum, according to the World Health Organization, with many facilities shelled in the fighting.
The shipment took off from the Jordanian capital Amman and arrived in the eastern city of Port Sudan, which Youssef said was now the only entry point for aid to Sudan.
He said the medical kits on the plane were “enough to stabilize 1,500 patients,” adding that the ICRC was hoping for security guarantees to send further aid to Khartoum and Darfur. The regional director said they were able to deliver some aid to Darfur at the beginning, but “it was not enough, and we could not get anything to Khartoum.”
Ex-PM warns of ‘nightmare’
Foreign nations have scrambled to evacuate thousands of their citizens by air, road, and sea since the fighting plunged the poverty-stricken country into deadly turmoil on April 15. A former prime minister warned of the “nightmare” risk of a descent into full- scale civil war.
The warring sides have agreed to multiple tricks but none has taken hold, as chaos and lawlessness have gripped the capital city of five million and other regions.
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The latest three-day ceasefire – due to expire on Sunday – was agreed Thursday after mediation led by the United States, Saudi Arabia, the African Union and the United Nations.
As the battles have raged regardless, the rival generals have taken aim at each other in the media.
Local authorities in Khartoum on Sunday put civil servants on open-ended leave “due to the security situation,” though the majority of residents have already been hiding at home since the fighting broke out.
Tens of thousands flee
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged negotiations to end the bloodshed. “There is no right to go on fighting for power when the country is falling apart,” he told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television on Saturday. “My appeal is for everything to be done to support an African-led initiative for peace in Sudan.”
About 75,000 have been displaced by the fighting, the UN said. At least 20,000 have escaped to Chad, 4,000 to South Sudan, 3,500 to Ethiopia and 3,000 to the Central African Republic, it said.
The fighting has also triggered a mass exodus of foreigners and international staff. Saudi Arabia said it had taken about 5,000 people to safety on ships across the Red Sea.
A US-organized road convoy arrived in Port Sudan Saturday to join the exodus. And the UK Foreign Office said just under 1,900 Britons had been taken out on 21 flights, following large airlifts by France, Germany and other nations.
Fighting, looting and lawlessness have raged in the Darfur region. At least 96 people were reported killed in El Geneina, West Darfur, the UN said.