One Year of War: Testimonies from Sudan

18 Apr 2024
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Patient testimony from Central Darfur, Sudan:

We suffered a lot. For three days, we couldn't sleep. Now, where we are is also bad”

I’m Khadija Mohammad, 25, and this is my daughter Malaka, I have been displaced by the war in Sudan. Five months ago, I was forced to flee my home in the displaced camp of Hasahissa, in Zalingei, Central Darfur, Sudan. I sought refuge in the displaced camp of Tululu, approximately one hour away from her home.

When the problems started between SAF and RSF, I lived at the edge of the [Hasahissa] camp which is close to a military base. The militia would come into our homes and loot our belongings.

During the fighting, there was no access to health care or food in the camp. I sold my belongings to earn some money for food. Eventually, the security situation became too difficult, and I was forced to move to Tululu camp, one hour away.

We suffered a lot. For three days, we couldn't sleep [in Hasahissa camp]. Now, where we are is also bad, because we don´t have enough food.

In Tululu camp, we don´t have access to health care me and my family. I traveled over an hour to Zalingei teaching hospital to receive treatment for my child Malaki, who tested positive for malaria at the hospital.

In Hasahissa camp [previous home], we would receive medication for free. Here in Zalingei, it´s not the same. But today [for the first time], we received medication for free.

MSF teams are supporting the Zalingei teaching hospital. On the 2nd of April, the hospital opened the newly refurbished emergency department, where MSF teams support the Ministry of Health staff with incentives, training and rehabilitation of the facility.



Patient testimony from Adre, Chad:

Life is very hard here. But what worries me the most is the children. I can’t provide for them, even to find shoes”

Four months ago, Khartouma found refuge in Adré, Eastern Chad, after fleeing extreme violence and clashes in her village of Ardamata, in West Darfur, Sudan. With her six children, aged from 9 months to 15 years, she is still struggling to live in the transit refugees’ site of Adré, with very limited access to basic essential services. Since the outbreak of the conflict, 550, 000 Sudanese refugees fled to Eastern Chad and continue to live in dire conditions, desperately lacking food, water, and decent sanitation.

“When armed clashes and bombings came close to my village, I had no other choice than to leave. We fled with a group of people but some of them did not make it to the border. With my neighbors, we fled by car and took as much luggage as possible. But along way, there have been attacks, people have been killed. We were looted by armed men but us, we were lucky, they took only our belongings and not our lives.

We arrived late at night and empty-handed at the border. The next day, we went to the Adré transit refugee site where I met my aunt. She shared with us what little she had: a tarpaulin, few pieces of wood and three kilos of flour so at least we could build a shady spot, sleep, and eat. In the past four

months, I beneficiated from two distributions only, with different bags of cereals, flour, oil and more. But it is not enough to cover our needs.

Back home I made my living making pottery so to survive here, I find ways to make pottery, which I then sell in the community and buy a little food with it.

Life is very hard here. But what worries me the most is the children. I can’t provide for them, even to find shoes. There is no school, so they do nothing all day and go round in circles. They don’t want to stay in the camp, they want to go back to Sudan.

My husband fled before us as he has another wife in El Geneina. He has been relocated to an official camp in Farshana. I am desperately trying to join him with the children, but I don’t know when it will happen. One day, they told us we will be moving so we packed everything but, in the end, it did not happen. So, we are waiting “.


Testimonies from South Sudan:

The warehouse where I was standing was bombed and 15 out of 20 people were killed in the attack”.

My name is William Jokite, 19 years old, I’m South Sudanese and I was working in Khartoum when the war broke out in April 2023. The warehouse where I was standing was bombed and 15 out of 20 people were killed in the attack. After we thought it calmed down we crawled out. One of my colleagues tried to stand up and run but we saw him being shoot in the neck, he died instantly. With a car we found, I drove until it ran out of fuel, and then we continued on foot. However, a previous injury sustained when I bathing in the river slowed me down, and my friends left me behind to travel faster.

Alone and in pain, I walked for three days and nights without rest, worsening my injured foot. I fear for its future, but I must press on to reunite with my family in Maban, recalling the nights I wake to memories of my siblings playing in the yard. I just wanted to be with them again.

Back in Khartoum, when the fighting broke out, we sought to leave, but our boss insisted on group departures only. Rockets struck our compound, leaving only five survivors. We navigated through the conflict zone, witnessing intense battles until we found relative safety.

We continued with our journey and after some time, we got an abandoned car. We started the car and I drove it until we reached to Block 3. There we came out of the car and abandoned it there and we when into our residential area.

The next morning, at around 7am, fighting started and there was shooting everywhere. They fought, fought and fought until they reached the Barracks of the army in Korton. We came to witness what was happening. Both the SAF and RSF soldiers showed no intention to harm unless we disobey their orders they threatened to shoot us.


Testimony 2 from Kosti, South Sudan

Life in the camp is a stark contrast to our comfortable existence in Khartoum. Illness plagues my family”

My name is Chira Casah, a 24-year-old refugee from Sudan. Leaving Khartoum was a harrowing journey marked by desperation for medical aid for my thyroid disorder, which causes fever, dizziness, hormonal imbalances, poor sleep, and weight loss when untreated. Fleeing with my mother, brother, and sister, we lost contact with my father and two other brothers in the chaos of war. I hope they are still alive.

Life in the camp is a stark contrast to our comfortable existence in Khartoum. Illness plagues my family, necessitating frequent visits to the MSF clinic for assistance. Food and water shortages loom large, forcing us to scavenge for work to survive. You will just die from hunger if you don’t go out and try everything you can to work and get small money. 

Once a university student studying animal protection, my dreams now seem distant amid the uncertainty of our future. Despite feeling like my family is unravelling, I cling to hope.

The onset of war, on April 15 a few days before Ramadan, trapped us in our home as violence escalated outside. With dwindling resources, we sold our possessions for survival, leaving behind loved ones as we fled from Khartoum to Kosti and finally to the transit center here.

Life in the camp is harsh, with my mother and sister struggling to adapt to the environment teeming with flies, mosquitoes, rats, and wild animals. Kosti also feels like Khartoum in a way, insecurity and crime is high here. We plan on leaving to Joda then to Renk. This here is a temporary transit center anyway.

Despite my efforts to secure medication for my thyroid condition, the camp's hospital lacks the necessary drugs. I explained my condition to the doctor and told him the name of drugs I usually take, he couldn’t help.

We await my two brothers still in Kosti, one of whom battles schizophrenia. His reluctance to join us stems from financial constraints, echoing the cruel reality that money dictates our options. Our journey hinges on his ability to join us, shaping the uncertain path ahead. This is my story of survival amidst the trials of displacement and illness.


Testimony 3 from Abyei, South Sudan

My name is Mohammad Abakar, I was in Darfur and had to flee in 2003. My journey took me to Myala, and now, escaping from there, I've arrived here.

Numerous families trapped in perilous areas are desperate to reach this safe haven. However, the journey here is fraught with challenges: it's costly and perilous, coupled by frequent attacks and rampant looting. The attackers leave nothing behind. We urgently need both transportation and protection. The current circumstances are horrific beyond words."

The conflict ravaging Sudan is unspeakable. We find ourselves escaping one war zone only to enter another conflict here in South Sudan. We're in dire need of help and wish for our plight to be known. The future remains uncertain, especially for our children. Will they ever return to school?

The war has inflicted severe trauma. I have three children; the youngest, born amidst conflict, is just two months old. The constant worry is unbearable. My children are deprived of their education, unable to grow or learn. Their daily tears are for the longing to study.”