Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Wad Madani, the capital of Al Jazeera state, since fighting broke out last Friday. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urgently calling on the parties to the conflict to ensure protection of all civilians and provide safe passage for people trying to reach safety.
“We fear that Wad Madani, once considered a safe haven for people fleeing extreme violence in Khartoum, is turning into another death trap,” said Pierre Dorbes, the head of the ICRC delegation in Sudan. “We saw desperate people running away in panic to the sound of explosions amid traffic jams and chaos. Each time this happens, family members get separated, and vulnerable people, like the elderly and people with disabilities, are left behind.”
Wad Madani had turned into a refuge for many residents of Khartoum after intense hostilities in heavily populated urban areas destroyed large parts of the capital and cut off entire neighborhoods from essential services. The ICRC temporarily relocated its staff from Wad Madani on Friday. The organization continues speaking with the parties and urgently calls on lifesaving access to all areas affected by fighting as humanitarian needs soar.
Eight months into the conflict, nearly six million Sudanese find themselves uprooted, the highest number in the country’s history. Having escaped armed violence, people survive in dire conditions, lacking the essentials like food and water and facing constant fear and uncertainty. Many Sudanese civilians have been displaced multiple times, while others find themselves trapped in dangerous locations without a possibility of escape.
In these extreme circumstances, in the past three months, the ICRC and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society have facilitated nearly 9,500 phone calls for people who lost contact with their loved ones. The ICRC has also distributed cash to more than 22,000 displaced people in Gedaref, Al-Jazeera, and West Darfur.
Between October and December 2023, the ICRC:
- Facilitated the release of 64 detainees in Khartoum and 274 detainees in Darfur, including 64 minors.
- Trained 44 Sudanese Red Crescent volunteers in Al-Jeneina and Zalingei on managing the bodies of the dead.
- Raised awareness among over 2,380 weapon-bearers on the principles of international humanitarian law.
- Supplied surgical and other medical items to 4 hospitals in Kassala, Al Jazeera, Port Sudan, and Khartoum states.
- Deployed a surgical team consisting of a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, two nurses, and a Hospital Program Manager to Al Jeneina. The team has performed 232 surgical operations.
- Organized community kitchens that serve two hot meals for around 5,640 displaced people per day.
- Supplied 6000 kg of chlorine and distributed 420,000 water purification tablets in Khartoum, Gedaref and Wad Madani.
- Supported Sudanese Red Crescent cholera awareness campaign in Gedarf, Wad Madani, Nyala, Al-Geneina, Damazin, Al- Fashir cities.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).