Thousands of corpses are reported to be decomposing on the streets of Khartoum, with morgues at breaking point due to power outages and insufficient capacity to store the bodies, putting families and children at increasing risk of diseases, said Save the Children.
The capital of war-torn Sudan has suffered intermittent power and communications blackouts since conflict erupted in April, with battles intensifying on the city streets in recent weeks.
Prolonged power shortages have left the city’s morgues without refrigeration, leaving bodies to decompose in the heat, and causing the risk of major disease outbreaks in the city. There are also no medical staff left at the morgues, leaving the bodies exposed and untreated, according to the Sudanese Doctors Syndicate, a doctor’s union.
Out of 89 main hospitals in the capital and states, 71 are out of service, with the remainder operating at partial capacity. Some health facilities have been occupied by armed groups, taking life-saving treatment from millions of children and their families, with at least 53 attacks on health care resulting in 11 deaths since April.
A horrifying combination of rising numbers of corpses, severe water shortages, non-functioning hygiene and sanitation services, and lack of water treatment options are also prompting fears of a cholera outbreak in the city. The absence of a functioning public health laboratory , through which a cholera outbreak would normally be reported, makes it difficult to assess the state of the crisis, however Khartoum typically experiences cholera outbreaks during the annual rainy season, which began in June.
Across the country, at least 2,435 children have been killed or injured since the conflict started, with recent clashes in the capital killing and injuring dozens, including children.
On 18 July, a child was killed in shelling, and on 11 July, several homeless children were wounded by stray bullets when clashes took place in a market in the Omdurman are of Khartoum. On 25 and 27 June, two children were killed and another two wounded in artillery shelling across the city, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).