On Sunday, April 23, 2023, Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reported heavy fighting in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum. Despite a brief lull in hostilities overnight, the fighting resumed in the morning with plumes of smoke seen rising above the city’s skyline. Residents in the city of Omdurman, the capital’s northwestern twin, also reported heavy shelling and air raids.
The United Nations (UN) has reported that more than 400 people have been killed and over 3,500 injured in the fighting. Thousands of people are fleeing Khartoum and Darfur, seeking refuge in neighboring Chad. The situation is dire, with widespread food, water, and electricity shortages continuing to plague the area. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors and Sudan’s Doctors Union have estimated that 70 percent of hospitals in Khartoum and nearby states have closed.
Reports of the worst violence have come from Darfur. A UN update on Saturday said looters had taken at least 10 World Food Programme vehicles and six other food trucks after overrunning the agency’s offices and warehouses in Nyala, south Darfur. Medecins Sans Frontieres has appealed for safe passage to bring specialist trauma staff and medical supplies to the area. More than 150 students from the International University of Africa in Khartoum have arrived in Gadarif in the southeast so that they can be evacuated to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to government sources.
In the city of Darduk, north of Khartoum, people have been rallying to call for an end to hostilities overnight. Internet connectivity is nearly entirely down in Sudan, according to the organization NetBlocks.
Several countries have started evacuating their citizens and diplomatic staff from Sudan. France has begun its evacuation efforts, while the US military has already evacuated US embassy staff from Khartoum. President Joe Biden has called for an end to the “unconscionable” fighting in Sudan’s capital between the army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra, has announced that the Netherlands has also joined an international effort to evacuate its citizens from Sudan. The UK says it is “integrated” into the operations of international partners to evacuate staff. Saudi Arabia has evacuated Gulf citizens from Port Sudan on the Red Sea, while Jordan will use the same route to evacuate its nationals. South Korea says a military plane is in Djibouti, and arrangements will be made to evacuate nationals.
The situation in Sudan is dire, with heavy fighting and casualties, widespread shortages of basic necessities, and the closure of hospitals. The international community is stepping up efforts to evacuate their citizens and staff from the area. Medecins Sans Frontieres has appealed for safe passage to bring much-needed medical supplies and staff to the region. The people of Sudan are in desperate need of assistance and support during this difficult time.