Morgue Crisis & Cholera Outbreak Hit War-Torn Sudan

War-torn Sudan faces a dire crisis as morgues overflow with bodies due to intense conflict while looming cholera outbreak warnings compound the tragedy. Clashes have claimed over 1,100 lives till now.

Harnur Watta
Aug 21, 2023 18:31 IST
Image credits: Sky News

Image credits: Sky News

As the war-ravaged nation of Sudan endures nearly four months of unrelenting conflict, a dire crisis has emerged in the capital city of Khartoum. Morgues in Khartoum have reached a breaking point, causing thousands of bodies to accumulate on the streets. 

The situation has grown so severe that international aid organisation Save The Children declared that the morgues had reached their "breaking point." 

With prolonged power outages leaving the facilities without refrigeration, bodies are decomposing, and a complete lack of medical staff has left the corpses exposed and untreated.

The impending catastrophe is compounded by the spectre of a cholera outbreak. 


Doctors and relief organisations have issued warnings that a looming cholera epidemic is imminent. 

International Organisations Issue Warning

Save The Children pointed out, "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 disease frequently spreads quickly through contaminated water in war zones. According to the aid agency, Sudan generally sees an increase in cholera cases during its annual monsoon season, which began in June, but the current lack of functioning public health labs makes it "difficult to assess the state of the crisis."

If left untreated, cholera can kill within hours. According to Save the Children, the majority of hospitals in the capital and neighbouring states are closed.

Escalating Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis


The current disaster is a tragic addition to a months-long series of clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). 

The violent struggle erupted in mid-April as both factions vied for control over the capital. 

The extent of the violence is staggering, with the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reporting that the conflict has already claimed the lives of 1,105 people and left 12,115 injured as of July 11, though the actual numbers are feared to be higher.


Innocent lives have borne the brunt of this conflict, with UNICEF revealing that 435 children have lost their lives and at least 2,025 others have been injured. 

Shockingly, this translates to a child being killed or injured every single hour, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

Sudanese medical workers have raised the alarm about the potential for devastating outbreaks, as many healthcare facilities are rendered inoperable by the ongoing violence. 


The conflict, which seems to have no resolution in sight, escalated once again recently, resulting in widespread damage and further chaos.

A Nation in Ruin

The ongoing battles have left Khartoum in ruins, driving over 4 million people to flee the violence across the nation


The International Organization for Migration reported that more than half of these displaced individuals have fled the capital alone. 

Furthermore, a staggering 24.7 million people, constituting over 43% of the population, are grappling with high levels of acute food insecurity, highlighting the broader humanitarian crisis at hand.

The conflict is often characterised as a power struggle between Sudan's military ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (widely known as Hemedti), the deputy and head of the RSF. 

Diplomatic efforts by the United States and Saudi Arabia to broker peace have largely faltered.

Just last month, the RSF declared that achieving peace with its rival SAF was "impossible" after talks in Jeddah ended in failure.

As the people of Sudan endure this protracted crisis, the world watches with bated breath, hoping for a cessation of violence, a relief from the humanitarian disaster, and the prospect of a brighter future for a nation marred by conflict.

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#Cholera Outbreak #Morgue Crisis #Sudan