Siege of Khartoum: Millions suffer severe shortages of food, medicine

Siege of Khartoum: Millions suffer severe shortages of food, medicine
A health worker sprays chemicals to combat mosquitoes that transmit Dengue fever in the market after it was completely closed by order of the Sudanese state authorities, in Gedaref, south east of Khatoum on October 13, 2023 - AFP

Millions of Sudanese have been living in extremely complex humanitarian conditions in the capital, Khartoum, since the outbreak of battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in mid-April.

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Clementine Nkweta-Salami said that more than half of Sudan's population - 25 million people - need urgent assistance and protection.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), which is concerned with counting victims of conflicts, the number of civilian deaths exceeded 10,400. The conflict also led to the displacement and asylum of more than 6 million Sudanese, according to the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM).

This is amid severe difficulties facing monitoring and documentation operations due to the fighting taking place inside the cities of Khartoum. The continuing military conflict coupled with general insecurity, looting and restricted movements also hinder active humanitarian actors in Khartoum from providing relief to vulnerable populations.

The population of Khartoum, according to the latest population census before the war, was about 8 million people living in its three cities - Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) recorded that the ongoing conflict continues to be the primary informing factor of IDP mobility trends and estimates that 3,292,769 individuals, which is 67.8% of Sudan’s total IDP caseload, originate from Khartoum, while 64,030 IDPs displaced since the start of the conflict have sought refuge in locations within the Khartoum state itself.


Al-Futaihab siege

In the Al-Futaihab neighborhood, located south of Omdurman, the Resistance Committees said in a statement that more than one hundred thousand people are subjected to a complete siege inside their homes by the Rapid Support Forces, preventing them from leaving and preventing food and medicine from entering, while under a complete water and electricity blackout.

Speaking to Jusoor Post on the condition that his name not be mentioned for fear of persecution, a young man said, “We have been besieged in Al-Futaihab for four months exactly in blocks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. We are stuck between the Rapid Support Forces and the army.”

“There were 10 carts supplying residents with supplies from the Jabal Awliya locality, sneaking in around 2 a.m. All living things were dependent on them for flour, sugar, oil, tea, and available food such as lentils, rice, onions, and charcoal. The Rapid Support Forces arrested cart drivers a month ago and killed them. Currently, people are consuming the remains of what they brought,” he added.

From the end of September to October 27, ACLED recorded 129 battle events in Khartoum. Fighting broke out in several urban areas, including the Jabal Awliya locality, the armored base, the General Command headquarters, the Suba Campgrounds, and the Sports City.

Jabal Awliya was subjected to heavy bombardment by the Rapid Support Forces. It is a strategic location near the southern border of Khartoum and White Nile State, where the air base that the Rapid Support Forces announced its seizure on Sunday, November 12, is located. The White Nile River separates the western side of Khartoum, where the Al-Futaihab neighborhood is controlled by the Rapid Support Forces, and the eastern side, where the Sudanese Air Force base is located.