After 40 days without running water, residents in the northern suburbs of Khartoum are risking their lives to fill pans and other vessels with water from the Nile, suffering from shortages in the high tide.
When the two Sudanese leaders came to war for power on April 15, the Nile Water Treatment Plant, which supplies several areas north of Khartoum with pepper water, was hit by fighting.
Since that time, three hundred thousand people living in these neighborhoods have not seen a minute of water coming out of their taps.
“At the beginning of the war, we collected water from factory wells in the industrial zone, but a week later the paramilitaries seized them,” Adel Mohamed, a resident, told AFP.
Faced with the crusaders, who were also fighting each other in the inns and inns, Muhammad had to wait several days before he could look for water any further.
When the fighting seems to have stopped, Adel Mohamed goes with his neighbors to the banks of the Nile, whose meanders separate Khartoum from the suburbs, to fill water bottles, basins and other containers with water, temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.
– Mortal offspring –
Together they fill the first train and return to distribute some liters to the families who still live in these suburbs.
Faced with this plan, Rached Hussein Madani fled 200 km south of Khartoum. The father of the family preferred to join the United Nations, one thousand miles away, before his children could not drink or shower.
“The lack of water and not the bombardment or the fighting forced me to leave my house,” he explained to AFP, in the face of raiders and paramilitaries who sometimes set up headquarters in the rooms of fleeing families.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), diseases caused by consuming unsafe water or lack of sanitation are one of the main causes of mortality in children under 5 years of age.
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The threat was present in Sudan before the war, where 17.3 million inhabitants do not have drinking water.
Mohamed Salah, on the other hand, chose to stay at home after finding a source of water nearby: the well of the Ahmed Qassem hospital, whose water is treated by doctors.
But during the week, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (FAR) also occupied the site, and the residents can no longer access it.
Rachida al Tijani found other wells, in a hospital north of Khartoum. To draw water, you only need to prick your ears. “When the shots are no longer heard, I will go as fast as possible,” he explains.
“But I couldn’t wash one piece of clothing from the battle,” he moaned.
– shot to death –
In Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world after two decades of sanctions, infrastructure and public services have always been in a state of corruption. But in about six weeks everything was resolved.
Officials are on leave “until further notice” and fighting is occupying hospitals, factories and public buildings.
To replace those “committee to resist”, informal neighborhood groups, which had already organized movements against military power before the start of the war, hired their own activists.
At the same time, they set up field hospitals, create food distribution stations or trucks to collect and bring water to the population.
“We have been providing water to the residents since the war started,” says one of these actors, who calls himself Ahmed.
“First we went to the industrial zone, but we had to drive for more than a month seven kilometers to the most northern neighborhoods,” he explains, not missing his real name, since both the military and the paramilitary pursue their members “resistance. commissions.
During one of these trips, his friend Yasin “died”. And again: There was no water. “He had to bury us, unless he could first wash his body.”