CAIRO (AP) – A plane laden with eight tons of emergency medical supplies landed in Sudan on Sunday, replenishing hospitals ravaged by more than two weeks of fighting between armies loyal to rival generals.
With the civilian death toll from nationwide violence surpassing 400, there are enough supplies to treat hundreds of wounded, and the conflict began on April 15 with the Sudanese military and paramilitary forces. It erupted among militaries and threatened to plunge Sudan into a violent civil war.
More than two-thirds of his hospitals in war-torn areas are out of order, citing shortages of medical supplies, health workers, water and electricity, the National Medical Association said.
The plane took off from Jordan on Sunday with medical assistance and landed in the city of Port Sudan, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Supplies, including anesthetics, bandages, sutures and other surgical supplies, are enough to treat more than 1,000 people injured in the conflict, the ICRC said.
“We hope that this material will reach some of the busiest hospitals in the capital Khartoum and other hotspots,” said Patrick Youssef, ICRC Regional Director for Africa.
Sudanese doctors monitoring casualties said on Sunday that 425 civilians had been killed and 2,091 injured in the past two weeks. Sudan’s health ministry on Saturday put the total death toll, including militants, at 528, with 4,500 injured.
In Khartoum, the deadliest battles are fought. During the battle, Army Secretary General Abdel Fattah Burhan meets General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, head of a militia group known as Rapid Support Force.
Both generals, who blocked Sudan’s capricious transition to democracy in a military coup in October 2021, were allied with powerful foreign backers and have since turned against each other. Ordinary Sudanese were caught in the crossfire. Tens of thousands have fled to neighboring countries such as Chad and Egypt, while others remain stranded due to scarcity of supplies. Thousands of foreigners were evacuated by air or land.
Fighting continued in various parts of the capital on Sunday, with residents hiding in their homes reporting hearing shelling. Despite repeated attempts at international mediation, there was a lull in the fighting, but never a fully enforced ceasefire. Over the weekend, residents reported a gradual return to normality as fighting eased in some areas of Khartoum after a shaky ceasefire, with shops reopening. Elsewhere, however, frightened residents reported blasts blaring around them and militants looting their homes.
The paramilitary group RSF announced on Sunday that it would extend the humanitarian ceasefire beyond midnight for another 72 hours, according to a statement on the group’s official Facebook page. The decision will allow civilians and relief supplies to pass safely.
The Sudanese military did not immediately react to his RSF announcement. Youssef, an ICRC official, said the ICRC is in contact with the high command of both sides to ensure that medical aid reaches hospitals safely.
“With this news today, I really hope this will be part of a stable coordination mechanism to allow other flights to arrive,” he said.
Youssef said he was ready to send further medical assistance to Khartoum until the necessary permits and security guarantees were obtained.
Sudan’s health system is on the brink of collapse, with dozens of hospitals closed. Several aid organizations have had to suspend operations and evacuate their employees. A US warship also arrived in Port Sudan on Sunday to evacuate more US citizens, according to footage aired by Saudi TV station Al Arabiya.
Most of the estimated 16,000 Americans believed to be in Sudan today are Sudanese citizens of American descent. The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that it would move naval resources to Sudan’s coast to support further evacuations.