With the conflict in Sudan in its third week, Sudan’s health sector is on the verge of collapse. The World Health Organization verified 25 attacks on health facilities that killed at least eight people and injured 18 others since the start of the conflict. And a lack of power for life-saving equipment, supply shortages, and infrastructure damage are making it even more difficult for hospitals to operate. The Sudan Doctors Trade Union reports that 60 of 86 hospitals in war-torn areas – 70 percent – are no longer functional, cutting off critical care for people caught in the conflict.
Targeting of protected health workers and infrastructure must end immediately. Health care workers and medical units as such are not military targets. They are protected under international humanitarian law. Attacks on them are shameful and illegal.
These attacks come as brutal and widespread assaults in civilian areas are resulting in rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions across Sudan and compounding an already dire situation. In a country where nearly one-third of the population already required humanitarian assistance before the latest outbreak of fighting, the conflict has impeded access to life-saving assistance and basic services for millions of people and sent humanitarian needs skyrocketing.
Despite these harrowing conditions, brave Sudanese health workers and humanitarians continue to serve as a lifeline for those in urgent need of medical care, and the United States continues to stand with the Sudanese people.
The U.S. government’s humanitarian partners have extensive experience working in challenging environments and have reiterated their commitment to deliver life-saving assistance with impartiality, neutrality, and independence. We are working with partners to address rapidly rising needs and provide critical humanitarian assistance wherever and whenever the security situation permits. Partners are working around the clock to distribute emergency health and trauma kits and essential medicines, deliver fuel to power generators for continued hospital operations, and provide urgent services to address immediate needs in conflict-affected areas, including trauma care and mental health and psychosocial support. The continued fighting, however, is complicating these efforts.
To stop the devastation and alleviate suffering, the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces must cease hostilities and allow humanitarian agencies and their workers to support the Sudanese people, Sudanese medical workers to access hospitals and receive vital medical supplies, and civilians to access life-saving assistance.