- Author, Muhammad Muhammad Othman
- Role, . . – Port Sudan
Hawa Suleiman tries, in vain, to make food for her five children from leftover food items stored inside a very miserable shelter in the city of Port Sudan.
She arrived in the city with her children to escape the hell of war in Khartoum a few days after the fighting began and after losing contact with her husband.
With desperate words and tearful eyes, she says that she and her children miraculously survived certain death, “My children and I miraculously survived a bombing that targeted our house in Omdurman at the beginning of the war, and we were forced to flee to Port Sudan. During the bombing, I lost contact with the father of my children, and I do not know where he is now and if he is alive or dead.” “.
“One meal a day”
Although the shelter center is located a short distance from the main port that receives humanitarian aid coming from abroad, its residents suffer from crowding and scarcity of food supplies.
Hawa, who has been in the center since the beginning of the war, says, “The situation is very bad now. We have nothing but the Lord of the Worlds. There is one meal a day that is not enough for us, so we divide it so that we can eat it the next day. This has led to the children suffering from poisoning and diarrhea.”
Perhaps Eve’s story sums up the story of millions of Sudanese who were forced by the bloody war that broke out in Khartoum and spread throughout most of the country as a result of disagreements between the army commander, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
United Nations statistics indicate that more than 5 million people have fled their homes and been displaced to other regions, and this number has made Sudan have the largest number of displaced people in the world.
Port Sudan is one of the safe cities in which hundreds of families, most of them people and children, have taken refuge. Many of them have settled in shelters, most of which were schools distributed throughout the city, which is located on the Red Sea coast.
“A piece of hell”
As the war entered its sixth month, some residents were unable to leave the capital, Khartoum, as battles were still intense between the two sides.
Khaled Ali, a school teacher from the city of Kalakla, south of Khartoum, says that their conditions have become “a piece of hell.”
Speaking on the phone, he said, “We are still besieged and the battles have not stopped. The Rapid Support Forces have penetrated into the area and wreaked havoc… while the army is bombing their positions inside the neighborhood… and you can expect death at any moment.”
He continues, “There are no signs of life now in the area. There has been no food supplies and we have not eaten anything for two days. As for electricity and clean water, they are luxuries.”
Khaled, who works as a professor, added that he had been relying on his financial savings over the past months, but they had ended. “Now I live on the financial aid that my brother sends me from Saudi Arabia via a mobile banking application. I go to the nearest grocery store to buy basic needs.”
The situation in Darfur seems even worse. The city of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, which witnessed the worst types of violations and forced displacement, according to the United Nations, is still a ghost town, as described by the residents of the region. As for Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state and the country’s largest city in terms of population density after the capital, Khartoum, most of the population has abandoned it in light of the continuing violent and bloody fighting between the army and the Rapid Support Forces.
“Stop the war”
Many international organizations have decided to remain in Sudan despite the great risks. Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Clement Salamy, says that they will work to provide aid to those affected by the war. “We must work to deliver humanitarian aid despite all these great challenges.”
Both parties to the conflict called on the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces to immediately and long-term cease hostilities and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to those affected in various parts of the country.
He added, “We want the guns to be silent. We need a ceasefire that allows us to deliver humanitarian aid to those affected and assess the extent of the needs. Most importantly, we need a permanent ceasefire. We want this fighting to stop in order to deliver aid and for the Sudanese to be able to continue their normal lives.”
The senior UN official revealed that the response rate to UN calls to confront the situation in Sudan amounted to only twenty-six percent of a total of more than two billion dollars.
Adding that the work of the United Nations in Sudan is currently the largest of its kind, despite the presence of other challenges.
The war did not only cast its shadow on the Sudanese, but also on others of other nationalities who were unable to leave and are still suffering from both problems.
There are dozens of Syrians and a small number of Pakistanis and Indians, but the vast majority are residents of South Sudan who have settled in a shelter center designated for housing female university students.
The center is crowded with hundreds of families who have not been able to return to South Sudan.
Abiol says that she has suffered a lot and can no longer bear any more suffering. “I fled with my family from Juba to Khartoum years ago and I was living in a displacement camp in the city of Haj Yusuf. I was hoping to return to my country, but the war started in Khartoum and we were forced to flee again to Port Sudan.” “.
She adds in a tone of great sadness, “It is as if fate has decreed that we will live our whole lives in refugee camps.”
During my walk around the center, I met refugees from the Congo, including Peter, who was a student at the International University of Africa before the fighting began, but now he found himself in the city of Port Sudan, and began selling charcoal to live a decent life. He told us: “The situation in the center is very bad and there must be a way to live.” Al-Karim, I have decided to sell charcoal to people here. It is not a profitable business, but it is enough to live your life better.”
It seems that the matter does not depend on the loss of hope for Hawa and other Sudanese of returning to their homes. Rather, fears have become greater regarding the increase in the number of those affected by the fighting in light of the expansion of the war between the army and the Rapid Support day after day.