Bay Area Sudanese group responds to civil war, humanitarian crisis in Sudan

The U.S. State Department says it will continue evacuating Americans from Sudan, as a civil war has caused thousands to flee the country. About 1,700 U.S. citizens have been evacuated in the last week.   

The Sudanese Association of Northern California says they are raising money for aid, and they plan to rally on May 13 in Sacramento to bring more awareness to what’s happening in Sudan. 

"So, no school for some areas for sure. No food, no access to the city, no water, no medication. When we call our family back home, we hear the guns," said Sana Elfadil who has family in Sudan and works with the Sudanese Assoc. of Northern California.   

Late last month, fighting for control of the government erupted between the Sudanese army and rival paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces. Multiple cease-fire agreements have been negotiated and broken since then, and on Monday, another fragile 72-hour cease-fire agreement was put in place. 

"There is no life in Khartoum. It’s death and smell of death, actually. The bodies are outside, and no one can bury them. No one can even cover them because if you go there, you’re going to die for sure," Elfadil said.    

A week after the civil unrest began, the State Dept. issued a travel advisory asking Americans not to travel to Sudan and then began helping hundreds of Americans leave the country. Political Science Professor Karthika Sasikumar says right now, the U.S. is limited in what it can do to get more people out.  

"Those people who got out early are the lucky ones. As more and more time passes, the costs of getting out are going to increase, and I don’t just mean the financial costs. I mean also in terms of the risks that you run in getting to the ports and getting to the borders," Sasikumar said.  

Tens of thousands have fled Khartoum, Sudan’s capitol, and other major cities heading to bordering countries that are already struggling economically. Getting aid inside of Sudan is also a challenge because of the continued fighting and the broken cease-fire agreements. 

"They asked for democracy but at the end of the day they have war. We want to spread the word, we want emergency help for the people who are there, especially in Khartoum, without food, without water, without medication," said Elfadil.  

Since the conflict began, 530 people have been killed including civilians and another 4500 have been injured. Those numbers were calculated last week and right now, a humanitarian crisis is unfolding.