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Cholera Outbreak Ravages Port Sudan Amidst War

A nurse administers the cholera vaccine to a child in Sudan's Gedaref city on November 20, 2023.   -  
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Port Sudan, which lies on Sudan's Red Sea coast, is facing a cholera outbreak exacerbated by a lack of medical supplies as the country remains in the grips of war.

A university dorm that was hosting students has been converted into a shelter for the displaced, housing at least 1,000 people.

Among the displaced is Julia Adam, who lost one of her two daughters a month ago after she was infected with cholera.

"My children were infected, two girls. I took them to the hospital, one of them recovered, but the other was not saved. Her illness was stronger, it was cholera, and she died a month ago. And the other girl is here after she recovered," Julia Adam, woman displaced from Khartoum. 

According to Julia, who moved from the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the cleanliness in the shelters leaves much to be desired.

"We are really afraid, and we work on cleanliness, but not everyone (among the displaced) is keen on it. There is a lot of dirt behind the place. I can clean in front of my place and make sure my children bathe. As you can see, these flies will not disappear unless the place becomes clean," added Julia Adam.

Over, 8000 suspected cholera cases, including 224 associated deaths, have been reported since the country declared a cholera outbreak in Gedaref on 26 September.

The disease has spread to 46 localities in nine states as of December 2023.

"Currently, 70% of the health system in Sudan is out of service as a result of wars and as a result of the destruction of health care facilities. We are facing a great task and a great challenge in providing service to all of Sudan. Now all of Sudan is in Port Sudan (referring to the displaced) and this is a great challenge. The service delivery times are limited and not suitable for this number of displaced people. There is a shortage in the supply of medicines. We suffer greatly in providing treatment for people with all diseases and with cases of severe diarrhoea. There are many challenges, we are doing what we can, and we hope that (international) organisations will help us more so that we can tackle these infections and can control them," said Dr. Ahlam Abdullah, director general of Red Sea province health sector at the Ministry of Health.

Sudan’s war began in mid-April after months of tensions between military chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and RSF commander Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo.

More than 7 million people were forced out of their homes, including more than 1.5 million who have sought refuge in neighboring countries, according to the U.N. figures.

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