Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, faces a “high biohazard risk” as one of the warring parties in the conflict between the government army and the RSF paramilitary forces has seized a laboratory containing measles and cholera pathogens and other dangerous materials, the World Health Organization said. The conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Relief Forces broke out on April 15.
Nima Saeed Abid of the World Health Organization (WHO) remotely told reporters gathered in Geneva that the organization’s technicians were unable to gain access to the laboratory in Khartoum to secure the materials.
“This is our main concern: laboratory technicians do not have access and cannot enter the laboratory to secure the biological material and available substances,” Abid said, refusing to say which side of the conflict took the facility.
Battles between the army Sudan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF) broke out on April 15, and so far, according to WHO data, at least 459 people have been killed and 4,072 injured. As a result of the violence, hospitals and other facilities were paralyzed and many civilians were trapped in their homes, hiding from the ongoing fighting in the streets of Khartoum, neighboring Omdurman and elsewhere in the country.
The fighting eased on Tuesday after the army and rival paramilitaries agreed to three-day truceallowing more Sudanese to flee and foreign governments to evacuate their citizens.
In Sudan, citizens of many countries are being evacuated, including Poland, the United States, Japan or Great Britain.
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Main photo source: PAP/EPA/Indonesian Embassy KBRI Khartoum / HANDOUT