As the war in Sudan continues into its eighth month with no ceasefire in sight, cholera stalks millions in Africa’s third-largest country. The nation’s already fragile healthcare system has all but collapsed due to attacks and shortages.
The most vulnerable to this deadly water-borne disease is the displaced population which is “surviving in overcrowded camps, schools, dormitories, and mosques,” said medical-lab technician Rawia Kamal, with the People’s Health Movement..
With little or no drinking water supply in these shelters, refugees must buy water carried in on donkey carts, although the vast majority of these refugees live below the poverty line. Those unable to access or afford it are forced to drink from irrigation wells or rivers whose waters have been contaminated by defecation and washing in their streams. There is an absence of sufficient toilets and bathrooms for the displaced, she explained.
Kamal is one of the six million people who have been displaced so far by this war which started when the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, formerly ruling partners in the military junta, began fighting each other on April 15.
Over one million of the displaced have fled to neighboring countries. The remaining 4.8 million remain displaced within national borders, adding to the 3.7 million Internally Displaced People uprooted from their homes in the previous conflicts before this war. This makes Sudan “the country with the largest number of displaced people,” according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.