'Overwhelmed': Harrowing hospital account of Sudan conflict

Over 400 people have been killed and 3,500 wounded countrywide, says World Health Organisation

By AFP

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

A crowded ward at a hospital in El Fasher in Sudan's North Darfur region, where multiple people have been wounded in ongoing battles. — AFP
A crowded ward at a hospital in El Fasher in Sudan's North Darfur region, where multiple people have been wounded in ongoing battles. — AFP

Published: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 3:36 PM

Children hit by bullets and patients treated in corridors: one of the first accounts from medics since fighting erupted in Sudan provides a harrowing report of the conflict's "catastrophic" impact.

The testimony, provided by Cyrus Paye, who works for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the war-ravaged western Darfur region, paints a terrifying picture of the violence that erupted across the country at the weekend.

"The majority of the wounded are civilians who were hit by stray bullets, and many of them are children," Paye said, MSF project coordinator in South Hospital in El Fasher, state capital of North Darfur.

"They have fractures caused by bullets, or they have gunshot wounds or shrapnel in their legs, their abdomen or their chest. Many need blood transfusions."

MSF-supported South Hospital is normally a maternity unit without surgical capacity, but medics had to act quickly.

"Since the fighting began, we have had to repurpose the hospital to make it possible to treat the wounded," Paye said.

Over 400 people have been killed and 3,500 wounded countrywide, the World Health Organization said Friday, but MSF said that in just the one hospital they work in 279 wounded have been treated. Of those, 44 have died.

"The situation is catastrophic," Paye said.

"There are so many patients that they are being treated on the floor in the corridors because there simply aren't enough beds to accommodate the vast number of wounded," he added.

Fighting erupted on Saturday between forces loyal to Sudan's army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the commander of the powerful paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

While the capital Khartoum has seen some of the fiercest battles, fighting also exploded across the country.

"We are still hearing gunfire," Paye said Friday from El Fasher which lies some 800 kilometres (500 miles) southwest of Khartoum.

Other hospitals in the city have been forced to shut, while the paediatric hospital has been "completely looted", Paye said.

Surgeons from those hospitals have come to South Hospital to help, but the line of patients continues to grow.

"The two operating theatres that have been established cannot cope with the non-stop influx", he said, adding they were rapidly running out of medical supplies.

Medics are also coping with mothers coming to give birth. In the maternity ward, there are currently two women in each bed.

"The current team are overwhelmed," he added. "They have been working round the clock."


More news from World