Stuck in the war, dozens of babies and children in the Khartoum orphanage died. Photo/AP
KHARTOUM – At least 60 babies, toddlers and children have died over the past six weeks while trapped in horrific conditions in an orphanage in the capital Sudan as the battle rages outside.
Most died from lack of food and fever. Twenty six died in two days over the weekend.
The extent of the children’s suffering was revealed from interviews with more than a dozen doctors, volunteers, health officials and workers at the al-Mayqoma orphanage.
The Associated Press also reviewed dozens of documents, images and videos showing the facility’s deteriorating condition.
Video taken by the orphanage workers shows the bodies of the children tightly wrapped in white sheets waiting to be buried. In other footage, two dozen diaper-only toddlers sit on the floor of a room, many of them wailing, as a woman carries two metal jugs of water. Another woman sits on the floor with her back to the camera, rocking back and forth and appearing to be holding a child.
An orphanage worker later explained that the toddler was moved to a large room after shooting nearby blanketed other parts of the facility in thick dust last week.
“This is a catastrophic situation,” Afkar Omar Moustafa, a volunteer at the orphanage, said in a telephone interview.
“This is something we suspected from day one (of the battle),” he added as quoted by the Associated Press, Thursday (1/6/2023).
Among the dead was a three-month-old baby, according to death certificates, as well as four orphanage officials and a charity worker now assisting the facility.
The weekend was particularly deadly, with 14 children dying on Friday and 12 on Saturday.