Sunday, May 19, 2024

Two children, caregiver killed as bomb falls near paediatric hospital in Sudan

This hospital was one of the few specialising in treating sick children and has remained operational since the start of the war in Sudan.

• May 13, 2024
Hospital in Sudan
Hospital in Sudan [Credit: BBC ]

Two children have been killed and others critically injured after a bomb fell near Babiker Nahar Paediatric Hospital in the western Sudanese city of EI Fasher, the medical charity has revealed.

The hospital has been forced to close after the airstrike carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) landed 50 metres from Babiker Nahar Paediatric Hospital and caused the roof to collapse – killing the children and a caregiver in the process at the intensive care unit (ICU).

This hospital was one of the few specialising in treating sick children and has remained operational since the start of the war.

The disaster is coming amid escalating violence in North Darfur, with the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urgently calling on all warring parties to protect civilians and ensure the protection of health structures.

The major urban centre in the Darfur region had remained in the hands of the army, and clashes intensified in the battle for control of the city. 

The battle for control between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has lasted for more than a year in a civil war that has killed thousands and forced millions from their homes. 

The weekend incident came after heavy fighting between RSF and SAF/Joint Forces, with 160 wounded patients and those who could not make it sought safety in another southern hospital.

Michel-Olivier Lacharité, the head of MSF’s emergency operations, said the children in the hospital were receiving different treatments ranging from malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, among others. 

“Two children who were receiving treatment in our intensive care unit at the paediatric hospital, as well as one caregiver, have been killed as a result of collateral damage following an airstrike by the Sudanese Armed Forces.

“The 115 children in the hospital were receiving treatment for conditions such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition. Now, many are receiving no treatment at all.

“The children who were killed were in a critical condition in our ICU, but their lives could have been saved. This must not happen again. We remind the warring parties with the utmost gravity that hospitals and health facilities must not be targeted or become collateral damage in a conflict,” said Mr Lacharité. 

Already, the southern part of Sudan, once considered safer and a refuge for displaced people, has been under fire as fear now pervades residents in EI Fasher.

Several efforts made by international countries and organisations to broker a peace and ceasefire in Sudan have repeatedly failed. 

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