459 dead, 4,072 injured in Sudan conflict: WHO representative

Wed, 26 Apr 2023 9:53 GMT
WHO verified 14 attacks on healthcare personnel since violence began, says Dr. Nima Saaed Abid.
459 dead, 4,072 injured in Sudan conflict: WHO representative

At least 459 people have died and 4,072 have been injured due to weeks of armed conflict in Sudan's capital Khartoum, the Sudan representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Joining a UN press briefing by video, Dr. Nima Saeed Abid said, however, that the figures are probably "very much underestimated."

Regarding attacks on the healthcare sector, Abid said the WHO has verified 14 attacks since the violence began, with eight deaths and two injuries. Hospitals have also suffered damage.

"Attacks on health care are reprehensible and must stop," he said.

Occupation of health lab poses 'high risk'

The central public health lab in Khartoum was being occupied by one of the fighting parties as a military base, Abid said.

"This was extremely dangerous as there were multiple samples in the lab including cholera; there was an extreme biological health risk associated with this occupation," he said, and urged that the public health risk associated with the fighting should not be forgotten.

"There was a high risk of cholera and malaria, and there had been outbreaks of measles," he said. "It was expected that a high number of people would die from these outbreaks."

He said there was a "high risk" of taking care of all biological matter in Khartoum because of one of the fighting parties occupying the lab and expelling the technicians.

The priority for international actors should be keeping pressure on the parties to reach a cessation of hostiles, he urged.


Asked by Anadolu about evacuation efforts, Jens Laerke, the spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said: "Those who have been relocated from Khartoum and now in Port Sudan, we are looking at how to move them further on."

On Monday's UN convoy evacuation to Port Sudan of 700 people, including UN, international NGO, and embassy staffers, Laerke said: "We remain committed to stay and deliver, and we are delivering and we will maintain a robust leadership in Sudan going forward."

On April 15, fighting erupted between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum and its surroundings.

A disagreement had been fomenting in recent months between the army and the paramilitaries over military security reform. The reform envisages full RSF participation in the military, one of the main issues in negotiations by international and regional parties for a transition to civilian, democratic rule in Sudan.


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