Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Omdurman 11 miles from Khartoum is 'uninhabitable' amid its sanitary crisis and a total service collapse

NOTE from Sudan Watch Editor: Further to a 12 July 2024 post at Sudan Watch titled Sudan's police order all foreigners to leave Khartoum & surrounding regionthe following report describes Sudan's Omdurman locality as 'uninhabitable' amid its sanitary crisis and total service collapse.

Omdurman is in the "surrounding region". The distance between Khartoum and Omdurman is 11.1 miles, a 14-minute drive in light traffic. Why has Sudan's Ministry for Health allowed Omdurman to fester and not mobilised people to respectfully identify and bury the dead and clean up the area?

Maybe here's why. Around a week ago, the Sudanese authorities gave "foreigners" two weeks to leave Khartoum and surrounding region. It seems likely that the SAF plans to attack the region to rid it of RSF and supporters.

Dear God bless and help Sudan and her people, they need to be free of war.

Report from Dabanga Online English
Dated Monday, 15 July 2024  21:11 OMBADDA. Here is a copy, in full:

Omdurman locality ‘uninhabitable’ amid sanitary crisis and total service collapse

Stagnant water in the streets of Ombadda, a breeding ground for insects and waterborne illnesses 

(Photo: Ombadda El Amir Emergency Room via Facebook)

The Ombadda El Amir Emergency Room said that the Ombadda Block 5 neighbourhood in Omdurman, sister city to the capital Khartoum, is currently uninhabitable due to the presence of decomposing corpses in streets and in homes a complete lack of services.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Emergency Room indicated that there are no remaining functional markets, hospitals, or medical centres in Ombadda Block 5. Charity kitchens and hospices have also been relocated to Ombadda Block 2.

The streets of Ombadda are covered with litter 

(Photo: Ombadda El Amir Emergency Room via Facebook)

“Waste is widespread, and plundered homes have become breeding grounds for dirt, filth, and a gathering place for rodents and insects. Several corpses have left waste traces after decomposition, making the environment unsanitary. The area has not been fully evaluated to obtain the necessary environmental information.”

Parts of pipes and water connections have been stolen or broken, resulting in stagnant water in the neighbourhood, a breeding ground for water-borne ilnesses.

Kala-azar* (visceral leishmaniasis) disease was widespread in the neighbourhood when it was populated, according to the statement. Conditions in Ombadda blocks and 6 are similar to those in Ombadda 5, the Emergency Room said, noting that there are no residents left in the area.

There are only two families remaining in Ombadda 5. The emergency room warned that all residents from this area should leave to the safer eastern part of Ombadda 2.

The neighbourhood is divided: the northern and northeastern sections are under the control of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), while the middle section is a friction zone between the SAF and the RSF. Both the SAF and the RSF have imposed sieges on the parts of Ombadda controlled by their rival since October, severely hindering the flow of aids and goods into the area.

Ombadda, a locality primarily inhabited by people who fled previous wars and poverty in Kordofan and Darfur, witnessed heavy fighting on multiple occasions since the outbreak of war in mid-April of last year. On September 5, at least 32 people were killed in a SAF air raid targeting Ombadda Block 21.

Hunger hotspot

Already in March, 240,000 families in Khartoum state were threatened with severe hunger.

Sudan has been highlighted as one of the highest concern “hunger hotspots” in three separate reports published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in the Netherlands, and a joint Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Hunger is deepening in Sudan and in neighbouring countries to which millions of people have fled, creating a hunger crisis that could become the world’s largest.

View original:



A soup kitchen in Khartoum state (File photo: Hadhreen FB page)



16 months in: Sudan war at a glance

Source: Dabanga English Online report dated Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Read full story:


Friday, July 12, 2024

Sudan's police order all foreigners to leave Khartoum & surrounding region. MSF evacuates Khartoum team

Report from Ghana News Agency
Dated Friday, 12 July 2024. Here is a copy, in full:

Sudanese police order all foreigners to leave Khartoum

Khartoum, Jul. 12, (dpa/GNA) – Sudanese security authorities have ordered all foreigners to leave the capital Khartoum and the surrounding region.

They have two weeks to do so, according to a statement from the section of the police dealing with foreigners.

Foreigners should leave for their own safety amid the fighting still raging between government troops and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia, the police said.

According to media reports, hostility towards foreigners, especially those from other African countries, has been on the rise following reports of foreign mercenaries in the RSF ranks.

Just a few days ago, more than 150 foreigners who did not have valid residence papers were detained.

A bloody power struggle has been raging in Sudan for more than a year between de facto ruler Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohammed Hamdan Daglo.

According to the UN, the conflict has caused almost 10 million people to flee their homes, and risks a famine in the country.

International aid organization staff and diplomats still in the country left Khartoum after the outbreak of fighting and are now working from Port Sudan, where the situation is comparatively stable.



Related reports

Dabanga Online English - Friday, 12 July 2024

MSF Sudan evacuates ‘exhausted’ Khartoum team

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) announced the evacuation of its team from the Turkish hospital in Khartoum, due to ongoing violence both inside and outside the facility. The decision follows numerous threats to the lives of MSF staff. … The Turkish hospital will remain open with Ministry of Health staff, but surgeries will not be possible without the evacuated MSF staff, casting uncertainty on the hospital’s future.


Full story:


Full story:


Sudan Tribune - Thursday, 11 July 2024

Khartoum State orders foreign nationals to leave

The army controls the Karari locality and some neighbourhoods of old Omdurman, while Khartoum and Khartoum Bahri are under the control of the RSF, except for the headquarters and bases of the armed forces.



Monday, June 24, 2024

Biggest hunger crisis is unfolding in Sudan: How the US and its Gulf partners are enabling mass starvation

A SUPERB article by Sudan Africa expert Alex de Waal entitled 'Sudan’s Manmade Famine - How the United States and Its Gulf Partners Are Enabling Mass Starvation' 17 June 2024 is copied in full here. Excerpts:

"The biggest hunger crisis in the world is unfolding in Sudan, and it is manmade. As of now, more than half of Sudan's 45 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance. 

The time to act is running out. Iran and Russia are already complicating the geopolitics of the war, and the unfolding famine will generate even greater chaos. But for now, there is still a chance to avert the worst outcome. 

With pressure from Washington, Saudi Arabia and the UAE could take the lead on getting food aid where it needs to go. If they do not, MBS and MBZ may forever be associated with the starvation of an entire generation of Sudanese children.

Encouragingly, the growing resolve for prosecuting the starvation of civilians as a war crime suggests that international officials and world leaders may finally be prepared to hold perpetrators to account. 

In his June 11 announcement, Khan, the ICC chief prosecutor, said that he was gathering evidence of “repeated, expanding, and continuous” attacks against the civilian population in Darfur. 

Although he did not specifically mention starvation crimes, he is well aware of who is committing them and how. 

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but it is time that the men who inflict Sudan’s hunger crises are put on notice. If the ICC moves, the world should line up in support." Read the full story below from Foreign Affairs.

Cartoon: By Omar Dafalla / Radio Dabanga

Source: Hospital and camp hit in lethal North Darfur fighting

09 June 2024, El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan


From Foreign Affairs 
Dated Monday, 17 June 2024. Here is a full copy:

Sudan’s Manmade Famine

How the United States and Its Gulf Partners Are Enabling Mass Starvation

A Sudanese Armed Forces soldier near Khartoum, Sudan, April 2024 
El Tayeb Siddig / Reuters

The biggest hunger crisis in the world is unfolding in Sudan, and it is manmade. As of now, more than half of the country’s 45 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance. In May, the United Nations warned that 18 million Sudanese are “acutely hungry” including 3.6 million children who are “acutely malnourished.” The western region of Darfur, where the threat is greatest, is nearly cut off from humanitarian aid. According to one projection, as much as five percent of Sudan’s population could die of starvation by the end of the year.

This dire situation is not the result of a bad harvest or climate-induced food scarcity. It is the direct consequence of actions by both sides of Sudan’s terrible civil war. Since April 2023, the Sudanese Armed Forces, headed by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, have been locked in a devastating conflict with the Rapid Support Forces, a heavily armed paramilitary group led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, known as Hemedti. As the two former allies struggle for supremacy, both have deliberately used starvation tactics to advance their war aims. The RSF fighters operate like human locusts, stripping cities and countryside bare of all movable resources. Heirs of the infamous Janjaweed militia—the ethnic Arab fighters who inflicted massacre and starvation in Darfur between 2003 and 2005, leaving over 150,000 civilians dead—they use this plunder to sustain their war machine. The SAF, which is the dominant power in the United Nations-recognized government of Sudan, has blocked humanitarian aid to the vast areas of the country under RSF control.

In May, for the first time, Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he was investigating alleged starvation crimes by a party to an armed conflict. The ICC prosecutor requested international arrest warrants against top Israeli officials for the crime of “starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” in the Gaza Strip, citing substantial evidence of the deprivation of food, fuel, and water; threats to aid workers; and the drastic restriction of the flow of humanitarian aid in Israel’s eight-month campaign there. If the court approves the warrants, it could create an important precedent for Sudan, where even greater numbers are being subjected to these same tactics—and where ICC jurisdiction still runs, pursuant to a UN Security Council resolution in 2005. On June 11, Khan announced that he was stepping up an urgent investigation of war crimes in Sudan.

So far, however, international aid officials show no appetite for calling out the men who have been systematically starving Sudan’s children. Some may argue that external players need to avoid finger pointing, because it is the same generals who need to be persuaded to allow aid in. This is misguided. Neither side is likely to relent on its own: starvation is cheap and effective, and without strong international pressure, the leaders expect to get away with it. In fact, the keys to opening the country to aid likely lie in the hands of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the two biggest regional powers vying for influence in the Horn of Africa. 

It is urgent, then, for the United States and its Western allies not only to call out Sudan’s terrifying hunger crisis for what it is—an intentional aim of the warring parties—but also to push the Gulf powers that have clout to force the two sides to end the tactics that are driving it. It may be too late to stop the descent into famine, but swift action to enforce aid distribution could at least avert the most catastrophic outcomes.


The war in Sudan began in April 2023, when Hemedti turned on Burhan, his erstwhile partner in Sudan’s then-ruling military junta. Eighteen months earlier, the two military bosses had thrown out Sudan’s civilian government and taken joint control of the government, but the alliance had broken down and Hemedti, with his RSF, attempted to seize power. The result was a vicious armed struggle that quickly ignited an RSF campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur and that continues today. At present, the RSF controls much of the country west of the Nile and the SAF territories to the east; Khartoum remains a battleground. The RSF is notorious for massacre, looting, and rape; the SAF for aerial bombardment of civilian areas. RSF forces are currently closing in on the last SAF garrison in Darfur, in the city of El Fasher, threatening catastrophe. In the second week of June, they attacked and closed the last remaining hospital there.

That this war would create a food crisis should have been foreseeable. Even before the fighting broke out, international aid organizations were predicting that one-third of Sudan’s population would need humanitarian assistance in 2023. There were still several million people displaced from the war in Darfur 20 years ago, and many others were suffering because of a deepening economic crisis provoked by the secession of oil-rich South Sudan in 2011. Now, with war engulfing the entire country, each of the pillars of the national food economy has fallen or is about to fall.

Last year’s harvest on big commercial farms was meager, reduced by lack of loans, fuel, and fertilizer. On top of this, in November, the RSF overran the breadbasket region of El Gezira, south of the capital, ransacking farms, food mills, and the region’s agricultural university. 

Smallholder farmers have been driven from their homes, their animals stolen, their markets now deserted. Most livestock herds are now owned by merchant-soldier cartels—either stolen or bought from desperate herders at fire-sale prices—which monopolize the lucrative export trade. Shipments of wheat from Ukraine that used to feed Sudan’s cities have also ground to a halt because the government cannot pay. And the urban economy has collapsed, driving at least a million middle-class Sudanese to take refuge abroad.

Deliveries of food aid that normally sustain the country’s displaced population, who were living in camps that have become shanty cities around Darfuri towns, have also disappeared. In a few weeks, the onset of the rainy season will add further challenges. In previous years, the World Food Program could stockpile supplies in hard-to-reach areas. But this year, when roads to hard-hit rural areas become slow or even impassable, there will be no reserves to draw on. El-Geneina in Darfur is farther from a seaport than any other African city, and even in peaceful times it can take weeks for trucks to reach it. Now, it could be completely cut off.

Both militaries have embraced starvation as a weapon of war. In the last few months alone, the RSF has driven as many as a million Darfuris from their homes, many of whom are taking refuge either in the besieged city of El Fasher or the Jebel Marra mountains, which are controlled by an independent rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army. There are no resources to sustain these refugees. Already, Hemedti’s forces have taken control of El Fasher’s water reservoir, threatening to cut off its water supply, and ransacked its last remaining hospital. Meanwhile, the SAF is playing a more duplicitous game. It has made sure that the food crisis in the areas of eastern Sudan it controls is less severe: these regions are close to Port Sudan, the country’s hub for imports, and the SAF wants these people fed. Yet it is willing to let those in RSF-controlled areas go hungry and even to block international efforts to address the crisis.

Take one of the standard international measures of famine, known as Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, known as the IPC. Serving as a kind of humanitarian high court, the IPC’s famine review committee is due to assess the Sudanese situation soon. But Sudan’s IPC working group is controlled by the UN-recognized government—and the SAF has a vested interest in avoiding a formal declaration of famine in Darfur because that would increase pressure to permit the flow of aid to RSF-controlled areas. The IPC’s recent figures appear to indicate that 750,000 people are in a “catastrophic” food situation. But most independent humanitarian experts believe the situation is considerably worse—that there is likely already famine in several areas.

Even in the opening weeks of the war, the U.S. Agency for International Development had warned of a looming crisis in Sudan’s camps for displaced people: in the colored maps the agency uses as an early warning system for famine, it shifted the camps’ designation from yellow, meaning “stressed,” to red, meaning “emergency.” In fact, in one of these camps—Zamzam, near El Fasher—local humanitarian workers now report that children are dying daily from hunger and infection. Overall, 90 percent of the most at-risk people are in Darfur and other RSF-controlled areas. Comparing Sudan’s national food stocks with the nutritional needs of the population, the Clingendael Institute in The Hague warned last month that as much as five percent of the population—2.5 million people—could perish before the end of the year.


One of the cruelest ironies of Sudan’s food emergency is that the suffering of the country’s children seems to benefit both warring parties. In the west, Hemedti rules a hungry land—but his commanders are prospering, and his fighters are fed. Those who are starving are the Masalit, Fur, and Zaghawa ethnic groups that the RSF has targeted for ethnic cleansing—or on whose lands Hemedti’s fighters have taken everything that can be stolen or eaten. Such is the scale of destruction of farms, flour mills, markets, and hospitals that it has poisoned the RSF’s reputation among much of the population. Now, the RSF is prepared to ransom food aid itself, demanding high fees from merchants and aid agencies, in dollars, for every truck it allows through. That puts aid givers in a quandary: How much should they subsidize the perpetrators of starvation in order to feed their victims?

The Sudanese army, meanwhile, believes that by forcing starvation in RSF areas it can destroy the group’s base. Deprived of resources, the theory goes, the nomadic fighters who form Hemedti’s core forces will become restive and turn against him. Thus, the SAF has used its authority as the internationally recognized government to prohibit the UN from transporting aid shipments both from the east—from the zones it controls across the battle lines to Darfur—and from the west, across the Chadian border directly into RSF-held territory. The only exception it has allowed is a single corridor to El Fasher, but that has become inoperable because of the intense RSF offensive. A full-scale battle for El Fasher would likely mean mass civilian casualties and starvation.

Displaced women and children near El Fasher, Sudan, January 2024 

Mohamed Zakaria / MSF / Reuters

Veteran aid workers recognize these strategies from Sudan’s previous wars. In the 1980s and 1990s, Khartoum tried to starve out southern Sudan, and then enticed desperate factions of the rebels to turn on their comrades-in-arms with offers of cash and license to loot. Their aim was to gain control of depopulated oil-rich regions in the south, and their campaigns ultimately killed at least a million people. Even today, the generals who led those efforts regret that international humanitarian aid prevented them from taking that war of starvation to its logical conclusion. Instead, as they see it, deliveries of food relief became a Trojan horse for secession: aid kept the rebellion alive, aid workers became sympathizers with the rebel cause, and the result was an independent South Sudan in 2011.

High-ranking members of the SAF are not going to repeat the error now, when the stakes are even higher. Back then, the southern rebels were far away from Khartoum. Now, the capital is on the frontlines of conflict: Hemedti’s forces almost overran the city last year and are still dug in there. Undefeated, the RSF is surely planning a new offensive.


Despite pervasive signs of crisis, international efforts to limit the famine have made little headway. Within weeks of the start of the war last year, the United States and Saudi Arabia convened cease-fire talks between commanders from the SAF and RSF in Jeddah. The meeting did not stop the fighting, but the two sides did sign a Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan—solemnly promising the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, restoration of essential services, and protection of civilians in the ongoing conflict. Since then, however, both sides have ignored the declaration, and other mediation initiatives have been no more successful. In February, the UN made an emergency appeal for $2.7 billion for Sudan, but it has raised a paltry 15 percent of that goal.

There is a more important reason why the Sudan talks have continually failed to get off the ground. Until now, the two Gulf leaders that have the power to jointly bring Burhan and Hemedti to the table have failed to seriously engage with the crisis. These are Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS, and the United Arab Emirates’ President Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MBZ. The Saudis hosted the talks—but MBS did not want the UAE to participate. The UAE does not want the Saudis to influence a deal—or get the credit for it.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have clout to jointly force an end to the starvation tactics.

There’s a tangled history here. Nine years ago, when the two Gulf kingdoms launched their war against the Houthis in Yemen, they enlisted the SAF to fight in their anti-Houthi coalition; Burhan was the leader of that SAF contingent. But at the same time, Hemedti provided RSF fighters under private contracts to both the Saudis and the Emiratis. And Hemedti’s family business, al-Junaid, became an important supplier of gold to the UAE. Today, there are indications that the UAE is arming and funding the RSF—charges that Abu Dhabi has unconvincingly denied. And Saudi Arabia, with its links to Burhan, has permitted Egypt, Qatar, and Turkey to support the SAF, including with weapons, and has blocked other peace initiatives. This kind of meddling on both sides means that any progress on a cease-fire will require joint action by Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

With no end to the war in sight, other external actors have added fuel to the fire. Late last year Iran sent drones to SAF as part of an effort to revive its links with Sudan’s Islamists, who support the SAF. In May, Russia took steps toward a deal with the SAF for a naval facility in Port Sudan—and with its Wagner paramilitary group still closely linked to the RSF, Russia now has stakes in both warring camps. At the end of May, when U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Burhan to press him to attend renewed peace talks in Jeddah, Burhan swiftly declined. Instead, he sent his deputy, Malik Agar, for meetings in Russia to finalize a set of cooperation agreements—the central deal being Russian arms in return for the Red Sea base. The Jeddah talks that were supposed to produce a comprehensive peace are clearly dead.

For MBS and MBZ, Sudan is a small dial in their astrolabe. As the United States plays a lesser role in regional security, the two Gulf powers have tried both cooperation and competition in Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, and Somalia as well as Sudan. The geopolitical stakes surrounding the Red Sea are high: it is the sea-lane linking Europe and Asia, and planned railroads from the Mediterranean to the Gulf will be a central link in an envisioned India‒Middle East‒Europe economic corridor. Israel’s war in Gaza has shaken up the region and required the Gulf kingdoms to walk a tightrope between Israel and the United States on one side, and Iran and its clients and proxies on the other. With all this demanding Emirati and Saudi attention, the war and famine in Sudan have been left to fester.


Sudanese generals have fought wars of starvation for decades, including in Darfur. When I testified as an expert witness at the first case of an alleged Janjaweed militiaman tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court two years ago, my testimony emphasized this tactic as a crucial background factor. In the present war, the belligerents are using the strategy in their struggle for the entire country, putting even greater numbers at risk. This looming tragedy is all the more cruel given that many lives could be saved simply by enforcing the delivery of aid to those in most need.

Encouragingly, the growing resolve for prosecuting the starvation of civilians as a war crime suggests that international officials and world leaders may finally be prepared to hold perpetrators to account. In his June 11 announcement, Khan, the ICC chief prosecutor, said that he was gathering evidence of “repeated, expanding, and continuous” attacks against the civilian population in Darfur. Although he did not specifically mention starvation crimes, he is well aware of who is committing them and how. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but it is time that the men who inflict Sudan’s hunger crises are put on notice. If the ICC moves, the world should line up in support.

An abandoned army tank near Khartoum, Sudan, April 2024 

El Tayeb Siddig / Reuters

Even if the ICC decides to issue formal arrest warrants, however, it may well be too late to prevent tens of thousands of children in Sudan and neighboring Kordofan from dying of hunger. More immediate solutions are urgently needed. During the 1980s famine in Ethiopia, Bob Geldof, the Irish singer who organized Live Aid, appealed to a global public to “feed the world.” At the time, Ethiopia’s communist government was waging a war of starvation against rebels in Eritrea and Tigray. Pressed to follow U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s maxim that a starving child knows no politics, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ultimately instructed Ethiopia to permit discreet U.S-organized aid deliveries across the battle lines.

Today, Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed have an opportunity to exert similar leverage. The two men can choose to save lives, stabilize their countries’ strategic perimeter, and prevent what could become significant reputational damage for both countries. An agreement between the two Gulf countries would do only so much; peace will require Sudanese follow-through. But any kind of pact between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi would at least open the door to real negotiations, starting with urgent famine relief.

The time to act is running out. Iran and Russia are already complicating the geopolitics of the war, and the unfolding famine will generate even greater chaos. But for now, there is still a chance to avert the worst outcome. With pressure from Washington, Saudi Arabia and the UAE could take the lead on getting food aid where it needs to go. If they do not, MBS and MBZ may forever be associated with the starvation of an entire generation of Sudanese children.

ALEX DE WAAL is Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation.