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Fighting in El Fasher, Sudan: "People are trapped in the city and cannot leave"

The MSF-supported South Hospital in North Darfur state is receiving casualties as the health system faces further strain.

A displaced woman holding her child in Zamzam camp, North Darfur, Sudan.

Sudan 2024 © Mohamed Zakaria

May 21, 2024 — For the past 11 days, people in El Fasher, the capital of Sudan's North Darfur state, have been devastated by fighting as the Sudanese Armed Forces and Joint Forces battle the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group that now controls most of the Darfur region.

Claire Nicolet, MSF's head of emergency programs, gave the following statement today:

"Yesterday there was heavy fighting in El Fasher and we received 60 casualties at South Hospital—nine of them died from their injuries. In total, since the fighting began on Friday, May 10, 707 casualties have arrived at South Hospital and 85 have passed away. There is only one surgeon at South Hospital and new patients arrive every day, so he is under intense pressure.
"People are arriving with abdominal injuries, chest wounds, brain trauma, and open fractures. Some have gunshot wounds, some have been wounded by bomb fragments, and others have been wounded by shelling. We hope to increase the number of surgeons in the coming days to be able to treat the huge numbers of wounded more quickly. Currently, due to the intensity of the fighting, people are trapped in the city and cannot leave, so we anticipate that there will be more wounded arriving at the hospital over the coming days.

Sudan: Civilians devastated by heavy fighting in El Fasher

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As well as limited numbers of staff, another challenge is supply. Medical supplies are running out—we have only around 10 days of supplies left, so we urgently need to be able to restock the hospital. We need safe access and authorizations from the warring parties to be able to do this. If we don't get these supplies, it will be extremely difficult to continue to treat the wounded."

Sudan crisis response