Sudan: Updates from the ground

The worst-case scenario is unfolding in Sudan. These are testimonies from our staff on the ground.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Tuesday 30 May. Location: Gedaref, Sudan

As we enter day 46 of the ongoing war, truces are being violated and civilians continue to suffer. I find myself still here in our area office in Gedaref city, eastern Sudan, where I arrived 50 days ago for what was supposed to be brief mission. I feel that this has been the longest 46 days of my life.

However, amidst the chaos, I have received some happy news – my family has managed to flee Khartoum and find safety in the Northern state, our old hometown. My sister, her husband, and their six-month-old baby have even made it to Cairo, Egypt. After a month of anxiety and worry, it is a great relief to know that they are now safe.

Their safety has given me renewed energy to continue serving the people affected by this cruel conflict throughout Sudan. I am no different from all of my colleagues who are showing real effort and dedication to serving those in need through all our area offices around the country.

People in Khartoum are still experiencing episodes of violence in certain areas. Life remains unsafe in the three main cities of Khartoum State - Khartoum, Bahri (also known as Khartoum North), and Omdurman. As the current seven-day truce draws to a close, I hope that it will be extended or that the fighting will come to an end. People are either too scared to move or lack the resources to tend to their basic needs.

Looting and robbery have become commonplace in Khartoum, with some areas being entirely stripped of possessions. For example, the Al Amarat neighbourhood, where some of my colleagues were residing near our office, was completely looted. Friends in the area have told me of unreported killings and rapes occurring in the central neighbourhoods of Khartoum.

The violence has forced many people to flee to neighbouring cities and countries. Over a million people have been displaced since the violence erupted in Sudan, with more than 300,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The borders are now crowded with people waiting to cross, hoping to find safety and security elsewhere.

Wad Madani (Madani) city, located 170 km south of Khartoum, is still receiving people who are fleeing the violence. However, the city's limited capacity is struggling to cope with the influx of people, resulting in soaring prices for food, housing and fuel.

Despite the challenges, the 20 gathering sites that we identified are still functioning with the help of local volunteers and generous donors from the city. However, during my last visit to the city, I was saddened to see people sleeping on the ground, sick children, heavily pregnant women, and elderly people in need of life-saving medicines.

Although authorities, local NGOs, and volunteers are doing their best to provide assistance, they are facing numerous challenges. Some international actors have managed to deploy assistance and teams to some of the sites, but more help is needed.

The food assistance that we provided weeks ago was only enough to feed people for a few days. We are currently trying to do another distribution, but we are facing challenges due to the collapse of the banking system and other logistical issues like connectivity. There is not enough cash available to buy supplies to distribute.

Gedaref (Al Qadarif or El-Gadarif) city located southeast of Wad Madani, is still receiving people who are fleeing from Khartoum. Most of the displaced Sudanese are being housed with friends and relatives, while most non-Sudanese – mostly refugees – are being accommodated in gathering sites or at refugee camps in the state. Many of these refugees are Ethiopian, some of whom were previously sheltered in these camps before moving to Khartoum for work. Others have been living in Khartoum for years or even generations and are now seeking refuge among their own people.

Last week, as a part of our response to the crisis, we installed 96 tents in Um Gargor camp to accommodate the newly displaced. In addition to this, efforts are ongoing to address the needs of children who have fled the violence.

We are tirelessly assessing the ongoing needs of the displaced population and preparing for multi-sectoral responses to address their needs. Despite the logistical challenges, we remain committed to providing assistance and support to those affected by the crisis.

White Nile state, located south of Khartoum, is also experiencing a significant influx of people who are fleeing the violence. Some are coming to reside in the cities of Kosti and Rabak, while others are crossing the borders to South Sudan. Gathering sites have been set up in the cities of the state, and authorities, NGOs, and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet the increasing needs of the displaced population.

Camps that already housed the largest population of South Sudanese refugees in the country are now receiving new refugees who are fleeing from Khartoum.

Last week, our office in the state managed to distribute assistance to 1,700 people who fled Khartoum. We also worked with 1,500 children who fled the cruel conflict and were about to take their sixth-grade exam in White Nile. We worked with teachers, educators, and parents to provide them with relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and other tips to help restore a sense of normalcy and safety among the students.

NRC supporting sixth-grade students prepare for their exams in White Nile.
NRC supporting sixth-grade students prepare for their exams in White Nile.
NRC supporting sixth-grade students prepare for their exams in White Nile.

Geneina (Al Geneina or El Geneina) city, located in West Darfur state, is another tragic and concerning situation. The city in the far west has been without network connectivity for more than a week now, and we have lost contact with our colleagues there.

Geneina has experienced unprecedented violence in recent days, with over 460 people killed and thousands injured. Not a single hospital is functioning, and there is no access to electricity or water. All services have collapsed, and one of our community volunteers was killed, one of our staff members was injured, and our offices and facilities were looted and destroyed.

Aid agencies are reporting ongoing mass fleeing to neighbouring Chad. Geneina was home to the largest displaced population in West Darfur, and the region is one of the most vulnerable in Sudan. Although we are facing significant connectivity and logistical challenges, we remain committed to finding ways to provide assistance and support to those affected by the crisis.

From Khartoum to Wad Madani, Gedaref, White Nile, and Geneina in Darfur, the story remains the same: people in Sudan are once again facing violence and displacement, with little action from the international community.

I hope that the fighting will stop soon, and that life can return to some semblance of normalcy. However, what is "normal" in Sudan? Even before the war, the country was facing an underfunded humanitarian crisis, with nearly four million people internally displaced and 19 million people facing hunger.

Sudan needs more attention now than ever before. We must continue to raise awareness and advocate for the needs of the Sudanese people and refugees in the country.

I hope this is not another update that will fade into the news stream in a very busy world.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Saturday 13 May. Location: Gedaref

It is day 27 since the war erupted in Sudan on 15 April, and I am still in our Gedaref office, away from my family in Khartoum North.

Gedaref is still facing soaring market prices and skyrocketing fuel prices. I see many cars in the city queuing up to refuel. Many items are disappearing from the market, particularly those that used to come from Khartoum factories and other parts of the country, due to security and fuel problems. Buses are still crossing the city en route to Port Sudan, and other nationalities and refugees continue to arrive. They are seeking shelter among the local community, crossing to camps outside the city or crossing to Port Sudan.

The city of Wad Madani, located between Gedaref and Khartoum, is also struggling with skyrocketing food and fuel prices. Displaced people continue to flow to gathering sites that are supported by the community. The volunteers have done so much to help over the past few weeks. Humanitarian organisations have started to respond at these gathering sites, and we [NRC] were one of the first to do so.

Last Sunday, we distributed food items to five gathering sites out of the 18 that we had identified in our needs assessment several weeks ago. The number of displaced people is increasing in these sites, and the situation is getting worse. The local community will not be able to continue helping these people, and there are still not enough humanitarian actors in the city to meet the needs.

Despite the challenges of a collapsed banking system and skyrocketing market prices, we are determined to find a way to carry out a second distribution to Wad Madani. We are currently exploring all options and working tirelessly to ensure that those in need receive the assistance they require.

The situation in Khartoum is beyond a nightmare as the city witnessed one of its worst days yesterday. My neighbourhood was caught up in a cruel battle, and I finally got a better internet connection only to see the terrible pictures my brother posted on social media, showing buildings that had been hit and gunfire near our house. Being without internet for three days only to see this horror is beyond what any human can bear.

Unfortunately, my family cannot evacuate their place due to having elderly family members and a toddler, and also due to the unsafe roads. I find it extremely difficult to imagine the horror that they must be experiencing, hearing the sound of jet fighters, shelling and gunfire all around them.

I hope this nightmare ends soon, and both parties can come to a peaceful agreement and a permanent ceasefire.

Khartoum, May 2023. Photo: private
Khartoum, May 2023. Photo: private

Saturday 6 May

Saturday 6 May: Adam is an Ethiopian refugee who was living in Khartoum, Sudan. He tells us his story of being forced to flee once again as fighting reached his neighbourhood, and about the generosity of people they encountered on the way.
Saturday 6 May: Since fighting broke out in Sudan on 15 April, the city of Wad Madani has become one of the main destinations for those fleeing Khartoum. Over 18 displacement sites have been set up in schools and student hostels. The local community rose to the occasion.

Friday 5 May

We stand in solidarity with the people of Sudan during these difficult times. Our Sudan Country Director, Will Carter, has shared an update on our efforts to provide aid and support to those affected by the conflict. Despite facing many challenges, we are committed to expanding our assistance in the coming weeks, including emergency cash assistance for the most vulnerable, temporary shelter solutions, and basic psycho-social support for children. 

"As we all witness the heart-wrenching events unfolding in Sudan, I want to assure you that we stand by your side in these challenging times.

"Over the past three weeks, our teams have worked tirelessly to adapt to the rapidly changing situation. Despite the many obstacles we face, I'm proud to say that we've retained 10 international management members and our dedicated Sudanese staff. Three of our offices remain operational, and we're doing everything we can to provide aid and support.

"While our resources are limited due to the current countrywide banking and fuel situation, I want to inform you that we are down to our last few dollars in Sudan. We are using what little we have at this moment in time to support community-run kitchens in transit sites in Wad Madani, providing essential nourishment for those fleeing the devastation in Khartoum.

"We understand that the needs are immense, and we remain committed to expanding our assistance in the coming weeks. Our aim is to provide emergency cash assistance to the most vulnerable, support temporary shelter solutions, and offer basic psycho-social support for children affected by the conflict.

"We share your pain and sorrow, and we promise to continue working hand in hand with you, the brave people of Sudan, to face these trying times together. Your resilience and strength inspire us to keep pushing forward. Thank you for your trust, and please stay safe."

Our Sudan Country Director, Will Carter, has shared an update on our efforts to provide aid and support to those affected by the conflict.

Wednesday 3 May, 12:31 EAT. 

We are devastated by the loss of Elsheikh Mohamed Omer, one of our community volunteers who was killed in the recent violence in Geneina, West Darfur. Omer was a selfless individual who dedicated his life to supporting his community, despite being displaced himself. During the last week, buildings have been looted, and settlements burned to the ground, causing widespread panic and displacement in the region. We are deeply concerned for the safety of those affected by this senseless violence and the situation in West Darfur is a stark reminder of the suffering endured by innocent civilians, like Omer, caught up in conflict. It underscores the urgent need for action to protect the lives and dignity of all those affected. 

Read more in our press release here. 

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Tuesday 2 May, 21:34 EAT. Location: Um Rakuba Refugee Camp, Gedaref

Today, 2 May, my colleagues and I visited Um Rakuba refugee camp in Gedaref state for the first time since the violence erupted on 15 April. This is where about 20,000 Ethiopian refugees have been living since they fled the conflict in Tigray in November 2020. As expected, we saw a mix of misery and happiness on the faces of the people there. The deteriorating situation in the camp overall, though, was evident.

The camp is located in the far eastern Sudan close to the Ethiopian border, yet, refugees in Um Rakuba camp have still felt the impact of the war in Khartoum, some 550 km away.

Humanitarian assistance to the camp has been almost frozen for weeks now as security on the roads to the camp was deemed unsafe. The markets in the camp have also been hit hard by inflation, a cascading effect from the skyrocketing prices in Gedaref, Madani, Khartoum, and a consequence of transportation prices increasing by 100%.

The prices are not as high as in the cities, but here in the camps, the refugees barely have livelihood opportunities or ways to make ends meet. Their freedom of movement outside of the camp is limited and they vastly rely on humanitarian assistance.

Here is a quick list of prices from Um Rakuba market, comparing them to prices from just three weeks ago (100 SDG = 0.17 USD):

  • Fuel was priced at 2,300 SDG per gallon, now priced at 15,000 SDG per gallon.
  • Flour was priced at 400 SDG per 1 kg, now priced at 800 SDG.
  • Bread was priced at 50 SDG per piece, now priced at 100 SDG.
  • Sugar was priced at 500 SDG per 1 kg, now priced at 1,000 SDG.
  • Drinking water was priced at 400 SDG per barrel, now priced at 600 SDG.
  • Onions were priced at 5,000 SDG, now priced at 7,000 SDG.

Every day, new refugees arrive to the camp from Khartoum. This is such a reverse compared with the past two years, when refugees were trying to escape the camp for a better life in the capital. But the camp is full. A lot of refugees do not have shelters, and basic services are strained.

Um Rakuba, managed by Sudan’s Commission of Refugees, is just one of the three camps that we are supporting in eastern Sudan. A colleague who visited Tunaidbah camp, a site in an even more remote area of the state, said that the situation there is even worse. We also expect a very difficult situation in the smallest camp of Babikri, closer to the border.

During my visit to Um Rakuba, I talked to people there and saw the fear and need in their eyes. These are refugees who fled a raging conflict in Ethiopia, two years ago, and are now seeing the country of refuge descending into conflict, and their living conditions degrading again.

This is overwhelming. Not only are Sudanese people living a humanitarian catastrophe. But refugees in Sudan are also seeing their lives once again shaken. Donors need to step up their response for Sudan and the one million refugees that the country hosts. This conflict has no limits.

Um Rakuba camp. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC
A food stall in Um Rakuba camp. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC

Sarra Majdoub, Context Analysis Adviser

Monday 1 May, 14:05 EAT. Location: Geneina, West Darfur

Horrifying reports coming out of Geneina, West Darfur, where civilians and camps for internally displaced people have come under fire, writes our colleague Sarra Majdoub. Massive looting of aid and burning of facilities is further worsening the picture.

Monday 1 May, 00:03 EAT. Location: Khartoum and Wad Madani

Our Communications Coordinator Ahmed Omer spoke to NPR this morning. He describes what's happening in Khartoum, where thousands have been cut off from water for over two weeks, and Wad Madani, where people are fleeing to seek shelter from the fighting. 

But he also speaks of "the small stories" that people do not see:

"There are people who are caught there who have asthma and they need their asthma inhaler. There are people who are caught there who have diabetes, and they need their medicines. This is, like, the things about war. Maybe people don't see that. People are blind about the small things about the war, that there is an area that haven't seen water in two weeks. There is someone who has an asthma attack, and he doesn't have his inhaler. These small stories are the real war."

Listen to the whole interview here.

Our communications colleague, Ahmed Omer. Photo: private

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Sunday 30 April, 9:00 EAT. Location: Gedaref

It looks like we’re staying here for an extended period of time, so we’re stocking up on our food supplies for the most challenging days ahead. Not easy. We don’t even have access to the local bank for money, and we don’t want to tap into the non-perishable food that we keep for emergency situations.

Reports from our colleagues here in Gedaref indicate that there are a lot of new arrivals who have fled the conflict. The situation in Gedaref is slowly changing into a new Madani – the first port of call out of Khartoum for thousands fleeing the fighting.

The current situation in the city of Wad Madani is extremely challenging. Residents are experiencing power outages for up to 12 hours a day, and there are reports of water shortages. Pharmacies are crowded with people seeking medical supplies. The price of petrol has skyrocketed to SDG 50,000 (USD 85) per gallon, causing previously crowded streets like Nile Street to become almost empty, with only a few cars moving, and some abandoned cars.

Back home in Khartoum North, it has been two weeks since my family last had water supply at our house. My family is caught in the fighting with severe water shortage, and my younger brother Munzer has to walk for an hour every day, carrying heavy water buckets in a wheelbarrow which he fills from a well in a hospital.

Both conflicting forces claim to be working on fixing the water station that was hit in the early days of violence. However, it is still not functioning, and people are still suffering.

These are truly difficult days for Sudan. I hope that this nightmare will pass soon.

Nile Street in Wad Madani. It used to be crowded with passers-by in normal times. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC
Ahmed's brother Munzer collecting water in Khartoum. Photo: private

Prices in Wad Madani

Here are the prices from Wad Madani compared to prices before the fighting started two weeks ago:

  • Petrol fuel, previously priced at 2,300 SDG per gallon, is now priced at 50,000 SDG
  • Wheat flour, previously priced at 7,000 SDG per 1 kilogram packet, is now priced at 14,500 SDG
  • Sugar, previously priced at 27,000 SDG for 50 kilograms sack, is now priced at 47,000 SDG
  • Apples, previously priced at 2,500 SDG per dozen, are now priced at 4,000 SDG
  • Oranges, previously priced at 2,000 SDG per dozen, are now priced at 3,000 SDG
  • Grapes, previously priced at 3,000 SDG per kilogram, are now priced at 5,000 SDG per kilogram
  • Baby formula, previously priced at 4,000 SDG per 400g, is now priced at 5,000 SDG
  • Nappies, previously priced at 4,000 SDG per packet, are now priced at 6,500 SDG
Food prices are skyrocketing. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC
Food prices are skyrocketing. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Saturday 29 April. Location: Wad Madani

From our colleague Ahmed Omer in Wad Madani, an interview with Rawaa, who fled from Khartoum with thousands of others. Leaving "was the only way to survive," she says.

Interview with Rawaa, who fled from Khartoum to Wad Madani. Video: Ahmed Omer/NRC

Sarra Majdoub, Context Analysis Adviser

Saturday 29 April, 19:46 EAT.

Our colleague Sarra Majdoub writes about the soaring deaths in Geneina, West Darfur, now up to 191. It is the site of horrific urban warfare, where thousands of internally displaced people have now witnessed gathering sites wiped out.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Friday 28 April, 12:00 EAT. Location: Wad Madani

Never-ending queues of cars waiting to fuel up in Wad Madani, some 160 kilometres southeast of Khartoum. Fuel is running out and many have been forced to abandon their cars as they flee the fighting. Petrol now costs up to 50,000 SDG/gallon (USD 83).

People are also getting desperate for bread, with long queues waiting outside bakeries.

People queuing outside a bakery. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC
Queues of cars waiting to fuel up in Wad Madani. Photo: Ahmed Omer/NRC
Queues of cars waiting to fuel up in Wad Madani.

Mohammed Abdalaziz, Camp Coordinator

Thursday 27 April, 7:00 EAT. Location: Al Fasher, North Darfur

The situation in Al Fasher, North Darfur, has been relatively calmer these past days compared with the heavy fighting we lived through last week.

Yet gunshots can be heard from time to time in different directions. Also, the town’s community is concerned about the visible tension on the street and the volatile situation around the country.

The local community is facing challenges in accessing basic services such as water, electricity, communication networks, food, and home supplies. Supplies are not coming to Al Fasher. Displaced people in camps are even more vulnerable to the scarcity of services, especially after the suspension of humanitarian work. This is something we need to address quickly when the security situation allows us to.

I am staying inside with other colleagues. I also keep daily communication with the rest of the team who are thankfully safe for the time being. We are being advised to follow all the safety instructions and we continue to be informed of the situation. But we were saddened to hear that many of our colleagues have lost family members and friends as a result of the ongoing conflict.

I am seriously concerned about the safety and well-being of my relatives, friends, and colleagues in other states around the country where NRC operates. Al Geneina, in nearby West Darfur state, is seeing major violence. I used to work there. I know how vulnerable and defenceless displaced communities are in the city. They live in tents and have nowhere to hide.

Darfur has seen so much suffering, for so many years. This needs to stop.

Mohammed Abdalaziz. Photo: private

Hamsa Alfaki, Education Assistant

Wednesday 26 April, 13:47 EAT. Location: Abu Halima, north of Khartoum

It's day 11, and it's getting worse and worse.

Armed men are entering civilian houses to take cover, forcing civilians to leave their homes. They’ve turned our neighbourhood into a war zone.

Many banks have been robbed. Gold shops, factories, pharmacies, supermarkets, all types of shops are being robbed. The biggest flour factory in Sudan was hit and set on fire two days in a row. How will we have bread?

Hundreds of people are now on their way to Egypt. Some have managed to reach Egypt safely but many others have been stuck at the borders for over three days, with kids, elderly and sick people, and they don't have food or water.

Here in Khartoum, we still don't have access to clean water, electricity, or food.

My family is panicking and want to leave Sudan as well. I don't know when this will end or how will it end, but I know that I don't want to leave my country. I don't want to leave these people behind. Yes, it’s not safe, but the rest of the world isn't safe either.

I feel sad and helpless, but I also have a daughter and I must protect her and provide her with a stable, healthy environment.

I admit that the panic hit me two days ago, and my thoughts were not clear, but then I remembered my safety trainings, and things to do to remain calm and reduce stress, to breathe, allow bad thoughts to leave, and welcome good new thoughts.

I don't want my thoughts and actions to be driven by stress or panic.

Yes, I don't know what will happen, when it will stop, but I know that I don't feel like leaving my country. If we all leave, what will remain of our country?

Hamsa Alfaki. Photo: private
Monday 24 April, 21:44 EAT. Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator, speaking from Wad Madani.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Monday 24 April, 14:52 EAT. Location: Wad Madani, Sudan

This [photo below] is a grocery store in Wad Madani where prices have skyrocketed by 40 to 100 per cent. Basic items like bottled water are now being sold at double the usual price. Additionally, the rent price for a one-room apartment for a single night can cost anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 SDG [USD 67 to USD 100]. Fuel prices have also surged to 40,000 SDG [USD 67] per gallon on the black market, while it was previously priced at 2500 SDG [USD 4.2] at fuel stations.

These price hikes have made it extremely difficult for the residents of Wad Madani to afford basic necessities, and the situation is only getting worse for the newly displaced.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Monday 24 April, 13:27 EAT. Location: Gedaref, Sudan

We managed to travel to Wad Madani today for a rapid needs assessment. Thousands keep arriving there from Khartoum, some 160 kilometres from the capital. It is chaos. We were also told about many South Sudanese, Somali, Ethiopian and Yemeni refugees on the move.

Most of the displaced people are women and children and the situation is dire. They are very weary, tired and hungry as most walked all the way from Khartoum.

Among the most urgent needs are food and water, soap, and clothing, as many have no extra items to change into. They also need mosquito nets as many sleep outside because of the heat.

Local residents and authorities are trying to find them shelter and set up new places to accommodate new arrivals. Some are staying with local hosts in their houses, others are accommodated in youth hostels and schools.

On the way back, I saw more people heading to Gedaref, including expats who were living in Khartoum. The road was crowded with people traveling east.

Our team conducting a rapid needs assessment in Wad Madani.
A shelter for newly displaced people in Wad Madani.
Due to the heat inside the collective shelters, some people choose to sleep outside. Therefore, there is a great need for mosquito nets.
Monday 24 April: Latest displacement and conflict map from OCHA shows thousands of people are fleeing, including to Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.  Clashes continue, with over 420 people killed and 3,700 injured. Prices of essential items are sharply increasing due to shortages.  Source: https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-clashes-between-saf-and-rsf-flash-update-no-5-23-april-2023

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Sunday 23 April, 09:34 EAT. Location: Gedaref, Sudan

I met families who had just fled from Khartoum. They were around 300 people all in a convoy of buses, many women and children, exhausted and worn out. They were trying to gather supplies before continuing their journey to Port Sudan. A Jordanian, who was with his family, told me about the harrowing situation they fled from in Khartoum.

“Yesterday, there were widespread gunfights in the area, stretching from Khartoum 2 [centre] to Mujahedeen in the southern part of the city,” he said. “Lots of cars and buses were leaving. Nowhere is safe. Finding fuel is a miracle. It’s unavailable, even on the black market. Prices in supermarkets have skyrocketed, with grocery prices multiplying. A loaf of bread now costs between 400-500 SDG [around USD 0.8], before the conflict it was 50 SDG [USD 0.08]. But obtaining these expensive items requires risking one's life.”

Ahmed in Gedaref. Photo: private

Hamsa Alfaki, Education Assistant

Saturday 22 April, 19:33 EAT. Location: Abu Halima, outskirts of Khartoum

Day eight. Second day of Eid. And again, the fighting forces agreed on a truce for three days for Eid holiday, but still the shooting continues. And it's getting worse because it's not just on the main streets. Armed men continue fighting inside the neighbourhood, putting us in great danger.

I don't know how they can be so careless towards the people of Sudan. How can they do this to us?

I find myself gripped by questions that I cannot answer right now. Is this really happening? Are we turning into a civil war? Is Khartoum no longer safe? Will I have a job? How am I going to finish my master’s degree? How can I raise my daughter in such an environment? How are we going to promote peace? Sustainable development? How are we going to make the world better? I'm scared for our lives.

I wish I could leave this country with my daughter and finish my master’s abroad. I’m starting to worry about our future, my daughter’s life. I don’t have a passport for my daughter, and I don’t know how to get her out of Sudan safely.

A bomb just fell in front of our neighbour’s house. Thankfully it fell in their empty yard, and nobody got injured.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator

Friday 21 April, 16:34 EAT. Location: Gedaref, Sudan

On the first day of Eid, Khartoum wakes up to the sounds of gunfire and bombing.

My family couldn't go to the mosque for Eid prayer due to the ongoing violence. No cookies or visits from family and neighbours either. They had a sleepless and terrifying night in Khartoum as thousands of troops were deployed to Khartoum just right before the nightmare.

Ongoing problems in Khartoum include water, electricity, cash, and fuel supply.

In Gedaref, it's calm, but there's no festive spirit in the air. Our team is deeply worried as it's been seven days since the violence started, and when we were cut off from reaching the camps we were working in. Humanitarian access is crucial as millions of people are already in need of aid.

Reports of thousands fleeing Khartoum to neighbouring cities are adding to the displacement crisis throughout the country. It is important that the world learns that nearly seven million people reside in Khartoum.

Hamsa Alfakih, Education Assistant

Friday 21 April, 13:14 EAT. Location: Abu Halima, outskirts of Khartoum 

Yesterday, in the middle of the day, gunshots rang out near our neighbour’s house. Armed men sought refuge inside our neighbour’s home, and I knew it was time for my family and me to find safe shelter. After iftar, we quickly packed our belongings and headed to Abu Halima, 15 km north of Bahry, where there is less shooting and bombing. We sought refuge in the home of some extended family.

I communicated with people to ensure road safety, and, thankfully, the roads were open, and we did not encounter any fighters.

This morning, I woke up to the peaceful sound of birds chirping. The day seems to be quiet, even in other areas of Khartoum.

However, the major issue we are facing is the lack of petrol. All gas stations are closed, and people have resorted to selling petrol on the black market at exorbitant prices. All products have become increasingly expensive, and if this continues, people will struggle to provide themselves with life’s necessities.

I’m also worried for the refugees. There are more than 300,000 refugees in the capital. For the past 10 years, Khartoum has been a stable place, where internally displaced people and refugees fled to. Now it’s a place that people run from – but where will the refugees go? It is crucial that we provide humanitarian assistance to those in need. I hope we can resume our work soon and make a positive impact during these difficult times.

Hamsa Alfakih. Photo: screenshot from video

Thomas Okedi, Area Manager

Thursday 20 April, 13:42 EAT. Location: El Fasher, Darfur

Today is the sixth day of fighting in Sudan. I am in touch with other humanitarian organisations in El Fasher, and more than 900,000 displaced people in North Darfur have not yet received assistance.

Looting is becoming rampant, and it is still dangerous to be out there. 

We continue to live in extreme fear and the situation for the urban poor in the slums of El Fasher and the internally displaced people in North Darfur is dehumanising, unbearable and a clear path towards death. Safety, access and resources need to be urgently mobilised for the people of Sudan.

Thomas Okedi. Photo: private

Hamsa Alfaki, Education Assistant

Wednesday 19 April, 19:00 EAT. Location: Khartoum

It's been five days already since the conflict started between the Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces, and unfortunately, it hasn't stopped. I don’t feel safe in my own home. Nobody feels safe.

Yesterday we heard about a truce between the two parties, and yet I could still hear the shooting and the bombing outside my house while it was meant to be calm. It was all very close and it’s terrifying. People are getting killed and attacked in their own houses by bombs and gunshots, random gunshots.

We’re running out of food and water, and we have no electricity. Many hospitals in Khartoum are damaged or closed down. Those that are open have also run out of supplies and have no electricity or water.

We’re all very worried, some people are trying to flee to safer areas, but that is very risky. I hope things get better soon as we can’t last much longer.

Hamsa Alfaki working in a classroom. Photo: private

Mohammed Abdalaziz, Camp Management Coordinator 

Wednesday 19 April, 14:30 EAT. Location: Al Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan

In the morning of Saturday 15 of April 2023, we were attending a workshop in our office, when we received news of fighting in Khartoum, the capital of the country. We immediately left the office, bought food and water and went back home. A few hours later we started hearing gunshots in the west side of the town, not too far from our neighbourhood. My colleagues and I decided to assemble in one apartment, close the doors and windows and lay down on the ground to avoid the random shots from outside.

We spent 36 hours in that condition, fasting, with no electricity, and hearing continuous light and heavy weapon shooting coming from different directions.

On Monday, we joined other colleagues in a more secure house. We are doing our best to manage our food and water stocks, and to support each other through this situation. I’m also trying to call my family left in Khartoum as much as I can to make sure that they are as safe as they can be.

I’m a Camp Management Coordinator. In normal times, I’m in one of the town’s big displacement camps, trying to make sure internally displaced people have access to services. But since Saturday it’s been too dangerous to go out and all humanitarian assistance is suspended. I am trying keep daily communication with my 14-member team to check about their safety and wellbeing. I also try to get daily updates about the situation in the camps, calling the internally displaced volunteers we work with. They told me there are multiple casualties in the different camps across the city. Some of them are starting to run low on water. It’s so worrying: one camp has more than 44,000 people, the other more than 100,000. And newly displaced people have started to arrive in the camps, fleeing the fighting in the city. None of them have received assistance.

I truly wish to see this conflict come to an end soon to stop the bloodshed and destruction. It’s also critical that the fighting stops so that we can return to providing our regular support to the vulnerable people.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator 

Tuesday 18 April, 15:58 EAT. Location: Gedaref, Sudan 

Alhamdulilah! My family was finally able to obtain a sufficient amount of drinking water that will last them for several days. They were fortunate enough to receive it from a nearby factory's reservoir yesterday, which was one of four factories in the Khartoum North Industrial Area that generously opened their premises to provide clean water to those in need. The water supply in the city is still a real problem, and it can easily turn into a disaster in the coming days. People report that a major water station was hit during the early hours of the conflict.

My top priority now is to relocate my family to a safer neighbourhood. This will be the longest journey our family has ever undertaken, but it is necessary for their safety and well-being.

Gedaref here is becoming calmer but we still cannot reach refugee and displacement camps yet. We haven’t visited them since last week and they haven’t received any assistance yet.

It is crucial that we continue our work and gain safe access to their areas. I urgently call for the support to make this happen.

I am hopeful that this situation will come to an end soon. I have to return safely to my family and resume my work in my duty station in Khartoum.

Video from Ahmed's brother, 25, at his parents' house back in Khartoum
Video from Ahmed's brother, 25, at his parents' house back in Khartoum
A photo shared by Ahmed's brother. These bullets were found at their parents' house in Khartoum. Photo: Private.
Video from Ahmed's brother, 25, at his parents' house back in Khartoum.

Ahmed Omer, Communications Coordinator 

Monday 17 April, 15:21 EAT. Location: Gedaref, Sudan

I am stuck here in our East Area Office in our solar-powered guesthouse in Gedaref, eastern Sudan. I am safe and sound with two expat colleagues.

What really worries me is that my family is stuck in the armed conflict in Khartoum North. My parents sent me pictures of bullets holes in our house walls and roof. My sister who was visiting with her five-month-old baby is caught there with them. They cannot sleep due to the continuous sounds of gunfire and bombings. They are running out of drinking water. Bridges are closed, streets are risky. A water problem is about to trigger chaos in Khartoum North.

I can't move from Gedaref as it’s too dangerous on the streets and we’re expecting more fighting. I am based in Khartoum, but I came here to Gedaref to document the Ethiopian refugees’ situation and some of our NRC activities in the camps.

Now I am stuck, anxious, and helpless.

Our humanitarian work is suspended and here in Gedaref we cannot now access the 41,500 Ethiopian refugees that we are supporting.

I hope this conflict ends soon. Sudan is too vulnerable to withstand this.

Ahmed Omer. Photo: Private