This week’s post is a tribute to the courage and unfailing professionalism of our staff in Khartoum. Below, a brief overview of the health and economic situation in Sudan, followed by a personal update from our country director, Mrs Neimat Issha, on life in Khartoum. An update on our literacy programme will be published shortly.
Title photo, local youngsters curious to see into our literacy circle at Jebel Awlia. Covid is crushing these young people’s already limited life chances.
Covid , The Economy, Recent Floods; Brief Overview
Above, Omdurman cemetery at Hamid El-Nil.
Accurate covid data is difficult to gather in Sudan but independent medical analysts fear that as much as 90% of all covid-related deaths go unreported. See the official WHO statistics here. Many covid deaths are recorded as resulting from other causes, such as lack of oxygen, as cemetery workers grimly attest in The Daily Telegraph’s recent article, Sudan’s Hidden Covid Crisis, judged by Sudanese experts as a broadly, though not entirely, accurate reflection of the reality there.
The covid pandemic has strained to breaking point already fragile infrastructures as citizens struggle to make a living. The official Inflation rate in August was estimated at a staggering 422%. Desperation has also led to increased crime rates, including an unprecedented rise in violent crime, in a city formerly known as one of the safest in the region.
Flooding and continued heavy rains have worsened the economic and health pressures people battle daily:
Heavy rains and flooding have affected over 288,000 people in 13 states across Sudan since the start of the rainy season this year, in particular in September. Close to 13,400 homes were damaged and more than 43,700 homes were destroyed, (OCHA) Floods Flash update.
WEP Country Director, Mrs Neimat Issha, on the situation in Khartoum
Neimat’s words powerfully bring home the daily reality for so many Sudanese outlined above.
“So many Sudanese people – not just the disadvantaged – are struggling to meet their essential needs. The majority of families have limited their daily meals to only one per day; so few are eating two meals a day now.
Increasing numbers of Sudanese people are also struggling because of chronic shortages of food, water, and electricity. Unofficial records estimated the inflation rate as high as 500%. Medicines are scarce and the covid pandemic has only tragically worsened the situation. Additionally, in some areas of Khartoum, robbery cases are increasing. I myself have been attacked by robbers who stole my mobile.”
Above, children of some of our literacy participants in Jebel Awlia.
“There is increasing pressure on the Police and Security Services to protect the citizens and their properties from gangs that threaten the security of the Sudanese people. They are doing their best. They had launched numerous campaigns to arrest the fugitives and are still trying to extend security as much as possible and we are confident that this temporary insecurity will diminish and that Khartoum will return secured as before.
Due to these reasons, the immigration agencies have stated that a large number of Sudanese families have migrated to Cairo and settled permanently, and that there are some families registered their children in Sudanese schools in Egypt, pointing out that there is also immigration to Saudi Arabia.”
Above right, children of our literacy circle members in Dar as-Salaam.
Below, primary schoolgirls outside their school in Jebel Awlia.
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